As if Jerusalemites needed more to fight about, now there’s a parking battle. The city government shut down a new parking lot after ultra-Orthodox protesters rioted last week, bringing the often sensitive religious tensions in town to a new, ridiculous height. The parking-lot wars began a few weeks ago. Responding to an escalating parking crisis—the number of cars has increased stratospherically; the number of spots has dropped due to widespread construction—the city agreed to build a public lot for for exclusive use of residents, choosing a location not far from the Old City. But the city’s ultra-Orthodox community cried foul, claiming that car traffic on the Sabbath so close to the Western Wall was, well, unholy. The municipality, leading rabbis said, needed to set up a “Sabbath Goy” parking lot, another lot in a different part of town. And so another location was picked, another lot built. But still no peace: calling that new lot a travesty, throngs of ultra-Orthodox protesters unleashed violent demonstrations last week, throwing soiled diapers and glass bottles at police officers. The new lot was shut down as well. And angry secular Jerusalemites are still circling the block.
Ultra-Orthodox Riot in Jerusalem; Six Policeman Wounded [Ynet, in Hebrew]