Police planning crackdown on Beit Shemesh radicals

Hundreds of officers are being deployed to the town to reinforce the Beit Shemesh police station.

December 28, 2011 03:11
1 minute read.
New police chief Yochanan Danino

Yochanan Danino GOOD 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The Israel Police is set to launch a crackdown on Haredi extremists in Beit Shemesh, which will include on-the-spot arrests for verbal abuse.

Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said hundreds of officers are being deployed to the town to reinforce the Beit Shemesh police station.

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“According to the law, verbal abuse and spitting are considered assaults,” Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post. “We’ve stepped up our presence around Beit Shemesh and will continue to work against illegal conduct.”

Police will also return to sites of removed street signs that called for the segregation of women on sidewalks, and ensure that the old signs are not replaced, Rosenfeld added.

Despite plans to step-up enforcement, Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino believes his force cannot – and should not – form the sole response to the growing problem of segregation of women by haredi men in the public sphere.

Although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on police in recent days to increase enforcement against the phenomenon, Danino responded pointedly to such comments by noting that his officers have been dealing with the issue for a lengthy period.

“We identified the... segregation of women [by Haredi extremists] a while ago,” Danino told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense committee this week. “We acted accordingly, and we will continue to fight with determination to increase the number of indictments and arrests,” he added, stressing that the issue is “firstly a social phenomenon.”

“The solution can’t come from the police alone,” Danino said.

On Sunday, Danino said police “didn’t need any reminders” about ongoing gender segregation and the harassment of citizens by religious extremists.

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