In the second assault of its kind in three weeks, police say several
ultra-Orthodox youth attacked a haredi conscript Sunday night as he drove
through a religious neighborhood in the capital.
According to police
spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the attack took place in the Bukharan Quarter, where
the unidentified victim’s car was converged upon by several religious youth who
obstructed the vehicle, dragged him outside and proceeded to beat him.
number of haredi youth blocked the soldier’s car from the front, threatened him
and then dragged him out of the vehicle and attacked him,” Rosenfeld said
Monday. “They then tore off his yarmulke and fled the scene when police
Rosenfeld said the soldier sustained minor injuries during the
assault and was subsequently treated at a nearby hospital. He has since been
Sunday’s assault follows a similar attack a few weeks ago in
the capital’s Mea She’arim neighborhood, when dozens of haredim attacked two
uniformed ultra-Orthodox IDF soldiers walking in the neighborhood, resulting in
the hospitalization of both victims.
Police said no arrests have been
made in either case.
“This is already the second incident of a haredi
soldier being attacked in a religious neighborhood by other haredim in a few
weeks,” said Rosenfeld. “Police are looking for a connection between the two
[cases] in an ongoing investigation and hope to make arrests soon.”
pattern of assaults has escalated since a May antidraft protest carried out by
the ultra-Orthodox organization Eda Haredit turned violent in front of
Jerusalem’s IDF recruiting office in Romema, when haredi protesters threw rocks,
glass bottles and other objects at police.
Tensions have been further
enflamed following the Peri Committee recommendations, released Wednesday by
Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri, stating that obligatory
military service will be mandatory by 2017 for all Israelis, including
Rosenfeld said he believed the assaults have all been
precipitated by haredi anger over the government mandate that ultra-Orthodox
Jews commit to military service.
Indeed, a number of haredi soldiers from
the IDF’s sole ultra-Orthodox combat unit, the Netzah Yehuda Battalion,
expressed frustration regarding being shunned by their respective communities
during the unit’s latest swearing-in ceremony last month.
[haredi anger] is not justified,” said Tzvika Gedalovitz, who served in the
unit. “There are those who should study Torah, but some, like me, want to join
the army to contribute to their country and be part of Israeli society because
when they only study, they’re closed off to the world.”
from the unit, who requested anonymity, said he believed that haredi fears of
assimilation and independence of thought are the driving forces behind the
“I think what scares the more traditional within haredi society
is that these soldiers think for themselves and have succeeded,” he said.