Ya’acov Katz takes on the Sicarii

By JONAH MANDEL
September 16, 2010 00:38

National-religious MK decides to outlaw haredi extremist group that attacked him in Mea She’arim synagogue.

2 minute read.



National Union MK Ya'acov Katz.

yaacov katz 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

A national-religious lawmaker has taken it upon himself to eradicate the extremist haredi group that rains terror on whomever it pleases, primarily on its Mea She’arim turf.

Many have been subject to verbal and physical intimidation by the so-called Sikrikim, primarily haredim who the radical anti-Zionist group decide, for various reasons, are out of line. But none dared to take on the violent group – until Sunday, when MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) and his aide were accosted by Sikrikim when the two stopped in at a Mea She’arim synagogue for afternoon prayer.

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Katz initially ignored the Sikrikim, who hurled curses at him, but when the aggression escalated to physical threats, the 58-year-old parliamentarian – who walks with the support of a cane because of an Egyptian rocket-propelled grenade that hit him smack in the left hip during the Yom Kippur War – was ushered out of the synagogue.

That was when Katz resolved to put an end to this small but vocal group that intimidates first and foremost haredim, including their rabbinical leadership, people like the elderly leader of the Lithuanian stream, Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv, and Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman (the “Rosh Yeshiva”).

Sikrikim have also recently attacked Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas), and United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev.

In addition to the physical danger posed by the group, the general haredi populace suffers ongoing damage to its image when the group burns trash bins, stones police officers and burns Israeli flags – actions the general public does not always realize are done by the Sikrikim and attributes to the haredim at large.

Following consultations with rabbis, jurists, the Knesset’s legal department and various members of Knesset, Katz decided, when the legislature’s winter session opens next month, to introduce a bill that would give the Knesset the power to designate a group of people intent on harming others as a terrorist organization.

The current law gives only the government or defense minister the power to make such a determination.

Katz then plans to sponsor a bill declaring the Sikrikim, whose members are known to the security forces – and the charities that support them – a terrorist organization.

As part of his campaign to outlaw the Sikrikim, Katz met on Wednesday with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu) and senior police officers. They agreed on operative and punitive measures to be taken against the Sikrikim.

Katz also let Aharonovitch know that he would continue to pray in Mea She’arim, where his family originated.

The Sikrikim are named after the Sicarii, a splinter group of Zealots who, before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, tried to expel the Romans and their partisans from Judea using concealed daggers (sicae).


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