JERUSALEM (Oct. 13)
Israel’s Cabinet, meeting at its regular Sunday session today, requested a full report from Minister of Police Behor Shitreet about a demonstration staged here yesterday, when heavy police reinforcements narrowly averted a clash between members of the League Against Religious Compulsion and residents of the ultra-orthodox quarter of Mea Shearim.
The Cabinet request followed a complaint voiced to the Government by Interior Minister Moshe Shapiro, who charged that the organizers of the League demonstration had gone beyond the conditions laid down when they were given a permit for yesterday’s demonstration.
Several hundred members of the League, many of them arced with clubs, tried to penetrate into the Mea Shearim quarter. They called for support of the League’s demands for civil (instead of religious) marriages, permission of automobile traffic on the Sabbath, and abolition of Israel’s blue laws.
About a dozen trucks carrying the League’s demonstrators, many of whom had come from leftist kibbutzim, were halted by the police, and the demonstrators were forced to walk afoot. Policemen standing shoulder to shoulder kept the secularists separated from the religious population, as the League demonstrators brandished their clubs and shouted invectives at the Orthodox.
Finally, the secularists held a rally attended by about 2,000 persons, while police kept the religious elements from breaking up the demonstration. As religious persons heckled the secularist speakers, police once again intervened to keep the two sides separated.
After Mr. Shitreet reports on yesterday’s fracas, the Cabinet is expected to continue debating the entire issue in the context of the recent demonstrations against Sabbath traffic staged by the ultra-zealous Orthodox community.