Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Israelis riot to protest excavations
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews rioted in Jaffa Wednesday afternoon, to protest what they see as the desecration of graves by excavations carried out at a proposed building site, DPA reported.
Five policemen were slightly to moderately injured.
An Israel Radio journalist providing live coverage of the demonstration was also forced to take refuge inside a mobile broadcast van after protestors tried to attack her. She continued to report while technicians wiped rioters' spit off her.
At least 15 demonstrators were arrested.
The ultra-Orthodox protestors argue that the excavation work carried out at the site, where a boutique hotel is to be built, violates the sanctity of ancient bones, thereby breaching the Judaic stricture of honouring the dead.
The rioting in Jaffa comes one month after ultra-Orthodox demonstrators tried to disrupt the building of a new emergency room at a hospital in the southern resort city of Ashkelon. The construction of the emergency room necessitated the removal of ancient bones found at the site.
Israel's antiquities law states that every site slated for construction has to first be examined for archaeological remains, and an excavation be carried out if necessary.