JERUSALEM (Jul. 5)
Rioting in Jerusalem between religious zealots protesting “Sabbath desecration” and non-religious youths was angrily condemned by the Cabinet and Mayor Teddy Kollek last night. The Cabinet unanimously denounced the disturbances after hearing a report from Police Minister Shlomo Hillel, but declined to place blame on any quarter. Mayer Kollek warned that continuation of the violence posed a serious threat for the unification of Jerusalem.
Eight policemen and ten others were injured, none seriously, in Saturday night’s melee which resulted in the arrests of an inspecified number of persons. Ten were released yesterday. Others are being held for further questioning. The rioting broke out at the Central Bus Terminal where about 200 Orthodox demonstrators led by Rabbi Amram Blau of the Naturei Karta hurled rocks at busses and cars entering the city before the close of the Sabbath. The zealots were confronted by youths from the nearby Romema quarter armed with stones and sticks. A Naturei Karta spokesman said one of their followers was badly injured by a flying object. Several yeshiva students were reportedly struck and spat upon. Eye-witnesses said that many of the rock-throwers were English-speaking yeshiva students, not citizens of Israel. Egged busses were pelted with rocks again last night on the main road in the Mear Shearim quarter but no injuries or arrests were reported. A police jeep had its windshield smashed, About 200 black garbed residents of the quarter, many of them teen-agers with side curls and broad-brimmed hats, set up a road block forcing traffic to be rerouted.
Mayor Kollek took a serious view of the situation in the City Council. He told members “We can’t limit violence to one part of town anymore than we can cholera,” hinting that disturbances confined so far to the Western half of the city could spread to East Jerusalem with dire consequences for Israel’s image, “The rest of the world, with the sole exception of the Jewish people, does not accept the unification of the city,” Kollek said. When an Orthodox Council member blamed the Egged bus cooperative for provoking the disturbances by operating its vehicles before the Sabbath ends. Kollek replied, “Their travelling on Sabbath doesn’t endanger the unification of the city. Demonstrations do.”