Acting Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has announced that any mayoral candidate hoping to receive the support of the Gur Hassidic dynasty will have to promise to close Shuk Mahane Yehuda’s bars.

According to Litzman, the shuk’s nightlife is a hotbed of “debauchery.” The shuk sits near a major educational institution and the article Litzman wrote to announce his opposition cited the concerns of teachers that the Shuk had become dangerous while being “encouraged by the municipality.”

Gur is Jerusalem’s largest Hassidic sect. They are also the leading group in Agudat Yisrael, the main national Hassidic political body. During the last election, their decision to support Nir Barkat against the wishes of most of the Haredi community was key to helping Barkat secure a victory. Litzman’s announcement could have been intended to put pressure on the Haredi world to only support a Haredi candidate, someone like Yossi Deutsch.

Another council member, Arieh King, claimed that families in the area have to sleep with earplugs due to the noise. The religious Zionist politician said that he agreed with 90% of Litzman’s complaints and accused Nir Barkat of not enforcing noise laws.

Litzman’s declaration came on the heels of Minister Ze’ev Elkin’s announcement that he would be running for mayor. Elkin would likely need Haredi support in order to win the race. In addition, Moshe Lion will need Haredi support to win.

Candidates, including Elkin, were quick to announce that they had no intention of closing the Shuk’s now popular bars. However, as elections come closer, a candidate slightly behind in the polls could be tempted to make a deal with the large dynasty. Jerusalem is still reeling from the fight to close the First Station. The attempt to close one of Jerusalem’s main leisure locations went unopposed by religious Zionist candidate Moshe Lion.

Mahane Yehuda has become a popular Jerusalem attraction for both Yerushalmim and tourists. As a result, real estate prices there have skyrocketed.

4 COMMENTS

  1. We have to accomendate all inhabitants in a reasonable acceptable manner .
    I suggest a noise monitor and anyone making noise higher than the permitted level should be fined

  2. The noise violation aspect of this is somewhat silly. People who move into the shuk neighborhood know what they are getting themselves into. I had to wear earplugs when I lived in Har Nof so I wouldn’t be awoken by screaming children everyday – and you don’t hear me calling for the banishment of all the haredi children in that neighborhood.

  3. I have little faith in litzman who for the sake of party politics he chose a secular mayor instead of orthodox .it smells bad .we need leaders who think of the good of the public

  4. Let me see, the ultra reject our national draft, block Jerusalem transportation systems repeatedly causing the aged to walk miles dragging their groceries after Shabbat shopping because the trains and busses stop moving ….because a few young boys think they need to study Torah. This ‘old man’ was kicked off two trains and called taxis for even older ladies ( were talking in their eighties) who were ‘stuck’, many had to walk still because all the taxis were used up. Sir, THAT is debauchery!!

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