The police reported that another haredi attack, this time on a
national-religious soldier, took place on Sunday afternoon in the ultra-Orthodox
Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Yisrael, close to Mea She’arim.
to police spokesman Shmuel Ben- Ruby, two haredi men attacked a uniformed
soldier wearing a crocheted kippa who was passing by on Sha’arei Shamayim
Ben-Ruby said that the passersby spat at the soldier and punched
him. The soldier fled the area and called police to assist him. He was extracted
from the area by police without injury.
The suspects fled the scene with
the Special Patrol Unit on motorcycles searching the neighborhood.
is the third serious incident of a violent attack against a religious soldier by
members of the haredi public in Jerusalem in the last week.
last week, a haredi soldier walking home on Shmuel Hanavi street in Mea She’arim
was pelted with various objects and cursed by passengers in a vehicle that
passed him by.
The uniformed soldier took refuge in a nearby building and
was extracted from the site by the police without being harmed.
Tuesday evening, a mob of approximately 100 haredi men surrounded and threatened
another haredi soldier in uniform. He managed to escape and was rescued by
police, but a riot broke out when the mob confronted police officers and threw
stones and other objects at them.
Four arrests were made at the time,
including a minor.
An intense public information campaign has been
launched by radical elements in the haredi community against ultra-Orthodox
soldiers in recent months in protest to proposed legislation to draft haredi
yeshiva students into military service.
Inflammatory posters depicting
so-called “hardakim,” (weak-minded haredim) who join the army have been posted in haredi communities around the country.
In one recent
and elaborate poster, haredi soldiers and policemen are portrayed rounding up
haredi children and taking them off for military service, while the children
call out for help.
The poster had one of the haredi children saying
“They’re making me a cantonist,” a reference to the forcible conscription of
underage Jewish children conducted by the Russian army in the 19th
A haredi soldier in the poster says “Children, don’t run away,
I’m religious, I’m a proud hardak, so what if I’m an ambassador for the
Another religious solider, lifting haredi children into a military
vehicle, thinks to himself “Now it’s by force, but in a few years they’ll want
to [enlist] by themselves.”
President Shimon Peres called on the haredi
community to support ultra-Orthodox soldiers during a meeting with haredi troops
earlier on Sunday.
“I call on the heads of the haredi camp to be proud of
the haredi soldiers, just as we are proud of you,” Peres told the
Peres grounded his speech in the teachings of the Bible,
saying, “we must protect against all acts of violence – these acts are against
the concept of the Ten Commandments.”
The president urged haredi soldiers
to persevere in the face of opposition.
“It is a mitzva [religious
commandment] to protect our country,” Peres said. “No one is going to do it for
There have been tensions of late between the haredi community and
the Israeli public that have been exacerbated as a result of the ultra-Orthodox
Knesset parties having been left out of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
coalition government. Despite the turmoil, Peres reminded the nation that Israel
is a unified country.
“We are all brothers, one nation and not two,”
In response, a representative for the haredi soldiers
commended the army for its support and made it clear that it is possible for
haredi soldiers to serve in the army while staying to true to their religious
“When we are on active duty, and when we return home from the
army, we study Torah in the proper manner, alone or in pairs, or in yeshiva,”
the speaker said.
“The IDF gives the necessary support network to make it
possible to be drafted as haredi men and to be discharged as haredi men.”