Police bust secret ultra-Orthodox Jewish wedding in Arab town

Police break up wedding, fine family that tried getting away with violating coronavirus health regulations.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli police last week dispersed numerous weddings that were held in violation of coronavirus health restrictions, including one Jewish ultra-Orthodox wedding that took place in the Arab community of Kafr Qassem, where the family thought they would not arouse the suspicion of law enforcement, Channel 12 reported.

Police handed the venue owner in the Arab town of Kafr Qassem a 5,000 shekel ($1,700) fine for holding an outdoor event with more than the permitted maximum of 20 participants. Documentation of the incident showed several dozen people gathering in the place without social distancing and without wearing protective masks.

One of the eyewitnesses said that Arabic music was played so as not to arouse suspicion. Several other ultra-Orthodox weddings have been documented in other Arab localities around the country as families try to evade health restrictions.

Arab communities have also been reluctant to give up on large weddings despite the health risks.

Health authorities have repeatedly warned that the highest infection rates during Israel’s second wave were in ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities that had failed to clamp down on large gatherings.

A day before, police were tipped off and broke up another orthodox wedding with 300 participants held in the Ben Shemen forest, 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Tel Aviv. One angry guest smashed the windows of a police car and was arrested. A week before, another wedding in the Jerusalem area ended in violence as guests refused to disperse when police intervened.

Police continued to hand out fines to businesses operating outside of health restrictions and to people walking around without wearing masks. On Wednesday alone police handed out 1,721 fines, most of them being 500 shekels ($150) for failing to wear a mask in public.

As officers handed the unlucky citizens fines, they also distributed free disposable masks.