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Ultra-Orthodox Jews Riot in Jerusalem


Religious Jews have rioted in Jerusalem on the Jewish Sabbath for the second straight week.

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews took to the streets of Jerusalem, throwing stones and scuffling with police. The demonstrators were protesting the opening of a parking lot on the Sabbath to accommodate an influx of Israeli visitors from around the country to Jerusalem's Old City. Jewish religious law forbids driving on the Sabbath and the Orthodox accuse the secular government and public at large of desecrating the biblical holy day of rest.

Some demonstrators chanted that "Sabbath desecrators will die."

Riots first erupted last month when the Jerusalem Municipality opened a lot near the Old City to ease a severe shortage of parking on the Sabbath. The violence underscores a deep divide between the ultra-Orthodox and the secular majority in Israel.

Secular Israeli Eran Abromovitz is fed up with ultra-Orthodox violence. "They're disrupting the life of the city. We cannot continue in this situation. We the secular Jews demand that our rights to freedom be fulfilled. We demand that this parking lot and all the rest of the city be open to secular Jews," he said.

The ultra-Orthodox say they are safeguarding Jerusalem as the Holy City. But as one group of secular activists put it: "Jerusalem is not Teheran."

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