Two Government Boards Probe Jerusalem Sabbath Rioting
Menu JTA Search

Two Government Boards Probe Jerusalem Sabbath Rioting

Download PDF for this date

Two investigations got under way here today into the Sabbath-observance demonstration and resulting rioting on Saturday which caused one death and at least twenty injuries

A special five-man Government Inquiry Commission, headed by Judge Eliahu Mani, opened its investigation by setting its term of reference, then announced it would start taking public testimony tomorrow. This commission, which has been instructed by the Cabinet to draw up recommendations for measures that might prevent a recurrence of such rioting, is trying to find out (1) who started the Sabbath-observance demonstration; (2) who was responsible for a counter-demonstration; (3) what led to the death of Pinchas Segelov, 55, a member of the extremist Neturei Karta, who died Saturday night, a few hours after he was brought to the hospital following the two hours of violent rioting.

The second probe is being conducted by a committee composed of Ministers of Interior, Posts, Transport, and Labor. Israel Bar Yehudah, Minister of the Interior, and a member of the left-wing Ahdut Haovdah, is chairman of this ministerial committee.

The first charge probed by the ministerial committee seemed to support members of the Neturei Karta who had charged that trucks were being used on the Sabbath to transport workers. The regular buses are not licensed to run on the Sabbath. No licenses for such use of trucks to carry passengers on the Sabbath had been issued, the ministerial committee established.

The demonstration Saturday, the most violent ever staged here, began when about 150 elderly member of the Neturei Karta staged a public prayer meeting in the streets on the western outskirts of the city. Wearing prayer shawls, they prayed for Sabbath observance, in protest against motorists running their vehicles. At the same time, a croud of youths threw up road blocks and, allegedly, started stoning motorists. Later, the youths were charged with having stoned police and aiming missiles at pedestrians who were hatless or were smoking.

Police used truncheons and employed high-pressure water hose to disperse the crowd which had grown to about 5,000. It was at the end of the rioting that Mr. Segelov was brought to the hospital. Seven policemen were injured, and three civilians, one a woman, were also treated for injuries. Among the religious demonstrators, at least 10 more were hurt.

Yesterday, when funeral services were held for Mr. Segeloy, the croud of mourners numbered about 20,000. The government was represented at the services by Dr. Zorach Warhaftig, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs. Members of the Cabinet and some members of parliament also attended, as well as leaders of the Neturei Karta and of the Mizrachi, Agudas Israel and other religious parties.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund