Israeli police officers clash with ultra-Orthodox Jews in Ashdod, Israel.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish demonstrators clashed with Israeli police in two major cities on Sunday as authorities faced new difficulties in enforcing coronavirus restrictions among the country's religious communities.

The clashes occurred in Ashdod and Jerusalem as police attempted to close religious schools that had opened in violation of lockdown orders.

Throughout the pandemic, many major ultra-Orthodox sects have flouted safety regulations, continuing to open schools, pray in synagogues and hold mass weddings and funerals.

This has contributed to a disproportionate infection rate, with the ultra-Orthodox community accounting for over one-third of Israel's coronavirus cases, despite making up just over 10% of the population.

In the coastal city of Ashdod, police scuffled with dozens of protesters outside an ultra-Orthodox school.

One demonstrator was seen removing his facemask before coughing at police.