Secular Leader Saved from Enraged Mob

Police rescued a secular leader from enraged Orthodox Jews who surrounded his car on a Jerusalem street Saturday evening, after he fired a pistol into the air in a vain attempt to disperse the crowd.

The incident occurred on Yosef Ben-Matityahu Street, bordering a religious neighborhood. Abraham Fritzi, chairman of the Jerusalem Committee. Against Ultra-Orthodox Violence, drove there to investigate a barricade of garbage carts erected earlier in the day to block traffic because, according to the Orthodox, a passing car had hit one of their children that afternoon.

He was stopped and his car was encircled by a mob of black-garbed men. He fired a single shot to no effect. When police arrived to extricate him, they were stoned as was Fritzi’s car. The windshield was shattered but there were no injuries.

But calm reigned in Petach Tikva Friday night, scene of almost weekly clashes between ultra-Orthodox Jews and Sabbath movie-goers. The management of the Heichal cinema decided to keep the movie house closed as a one-time goodwill gesture after the religious leaders in Petach Tikva agreed to control their cohorts. According to the theater manager, he wanted to give the police a night off to spend with their families.

In Tel Aviv, several hundred people attended a rally organized by Mapam, the Citizens Rights Movement and the Shinui Party Saturday to protest attempts to force secular Jews to observe Orthodox religious practices.

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