BNEI BRAK (VINnews) — In an outrageous display of insensitivity, police Tuesday broke into an apartment in Bnei Brak where singers Roli and Yoeli Dickman were holding live prayers via loudspeaker and confiscated equipment. The two singers were making a live Youtube stream of prayers for Chol Hamoed to enable neighbors and people worldwide to join with them when police stormed into the house after breaking in via a porch and closed the microphones, even though the event had been coordinated with the municipality, there were only three people there and there was no legal reason to stop the prayers. After the municipality intervened, the prayers were allowed to continue without interference.
Police sources claimed that there had been complaints about the noise emanating from the apartment but Chareidi politicians were not convinced and said that this was another example of anti-Chareidi incitement causing an overreaction.
MK Michael Malkieli (Shas) said that “it is very painful to see such a sight- police breaking into a house with large forces as if it was at the very least a drug factory. Three people were acting in accordance with Health Ministry rules and only wanted to make a happy atmosphere for prayers.”
MK Uri Maklev(UTJ) said that “the continuous cases of police harassment and the feeling that everything is allowed against the Chareidi community deepen the lack of trust and hostility and prevent cooperation. The policemen give legitimacy and increase the stigmas against the Chareidi public. We will demand an investigation and punitive action against the policemen.”
MK Yaakov Asher (UTJ) wrote Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan: “At a time when Bnei Brak residents are shut in their homes, heightened sensitivity should accompany the determination required in enforcement activities. The pictures of police breaking into an apartment in which activities were being performed to encourage the public to stay in its homes during the festivals is extremely disturbing and appears to be premeditated harassment. Police should be told to use their brains before they use their brawn.”
Public Security Minister Erdan responded that he had received “tens of complaints” about the event and had asked police to investigate it. He added that “I ask the public to remember that police are dealing with a huge load of thousands of events and are enforcing regulations for our own health and endangering their own health for citizens. Before judging them we should wait until all the details are clarified. There may be mistakes or improper behavior and I will do all I can to deal with them.”
Bnei Brak Mayor Avraham Rubinstein said that “this break-in is outrageous and unacceptable. The prayer was in accordance with all the rules and regulations and was coordinated previously with police. There was no gathering at the site and no reason for such a grandiose break-in. I will demand an investigation with police to ensure that such unfortunate cases will not be repeated.
Yoeli Dickman said that “we received a special permit to conduct prayers between 10 and 12. The prayers were streamed live on Youtube to thousands of people worldwide and were very successful. Despite the permit, police broke into the house from the roof in what looked like a scene from an action movie despite our permit from the municipality. We tried to explain to the policemen but they refused to listen. Only after we contacted local enforcement authorities the police let us continue.”