(VIDEOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)
MK (Kulanu) Rachel Azariya is a contender in the Jerusalem mayoral race. She launched her campaign on 300 buses in the city with the message “Together, we believe it is possible.” However, a few hours before the end of Tisha B’Av, a group of extremist chareidim decided to tear off her elections posters from buses.
The campaign, which appeals directly to a wide variety of Jerusalemites from all sectors interested in living together and preserving the fabric of relations in the city, bears the picture of the MK and relates that this bus has two opposing figures that are an inseparable part of the Jerusalem landscape and there is no reason that they cannot live together, side-by-side, in harmony. Among the characters used in the campaign are; a Golani Brigade soldier and a resident of Israeli Arab neighborhood of Beit Tzefafa, a Chabadnik and a student of liberal Betzalel Art Academy, and Betar Jerusalem (soccer) fans and Katamon. She is appealing to those who share her vision of the city’s residents living in mutual respect for one another.
Azaria said that she received videos showing the acts of vandalism from dozens of supporters, men and women who were shocked and disgusted by the actions of the extremists.
In the attached videos there are a group of men dressed as Chareidim who swarm an Egged bus as it stopped at a traffic light. The vandalizing gang quickly tears the ad off the bus, while another man whips out a can of black spray paint and scrawls something on the bus window. This “Holy Mitzvah” was repeated on multiple buses as the pack of extremists went on this mission.
Azaria said that “the violent attempt to harm the election campaign does not reflect Jerusalem, the Jerusalemites, or the chareidi public – on the contrary, it is an extreme and marginal group in Jerusalem.
“In Jerusalem we know that we can live together in mutual respect, even if it is not always easy. For us, on the night of Tisha B’Av, I say to the extremists that the ads are easy to re-paste, but the consequences of the baseless hatred are much more difficult to deal with, but we will do so. The vast majority of Jerusalemites are distancing themselves from you; the secular, religious and chareidi alike.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: חדשות רוטר)