Jerusalem city council meetings are known for their temper, but with the mayoral elections coming up, it seems like the boiling point is getting closer by the day.
In recent years, some secular residents of Jerusalem have been arriving at the meetings in a bid to have their complaints heard. On Thursday, the secular residents of the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood came to protest the plan to place several caravans which would be used as a kindergarten for ultra-Orthodox children. According to local residents, this is an attempt by the haredi residents to take over their secular neighborhood.
This time the members of the religious coalition in city hall foresaw the future and filled most of the seats in the meeting hall with their supporters. Dozens of Kiryat Yovel residents were left out of the meeting and city hall.
When the discussion turned to the subject of the kindergarten, things started to get ugly. The most heated exchange took place between city councilman Rabbi Avraham Feiner of United Torah Judaism (UTJ) Pepe Alallo, chairman of the local Meretz faction.
'Shame on you, you anti-Semite'
Rabbi Feiner called towards Alallo, "We, thank God, have 10-12 children. Where are these children supposed to study if not in their kindergartens? And you, what do you have? One child and a dog?"
Alallo responded by saying, "This dog pays more taxes than you do! Pays more property taxes than you!"
Feiner responded, "The question of a Jewish takeover was present in Nazi Germany as well, and that question is present here as well."
After Feiner made this comment, a commotion broke out in the meeting hall. Some members of the audience even tried to approach the different councilmen present but were held back, and were eventually escorted out by security.
"Shame on you, you anti-Semite, may your 10 children serve in the army like we did," cried out one of the secular members of the crowd.
The discussion itself was accompanied by catcalls from the audience, and as a result went on for a considerable time. All requests by the residents of Kiryat Yovel to cancel the planned kindergarten were rejected by council. In the last several weeks, ground work has begun in the location of the proposed kindergarten, and local residents have been attempting to stop the construction. [...]