Haredi IDF soldiers Tal Law 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout .)
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) on Tuesday called upon Public
Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich to deal firmly with the growing number of
attacks on haredi soldiers that have been reported in recent weeks.
said that recent months have witnessed a significant decline in haredi IDF
enlistment, which stood until recently at approximately 15 percent of the
possible annual intake.
In a statement to the press, Danon noted that
representatives of the haredi community raised the issue of the “aggressive
campaign being conducted against haredi soldiers” in a recent meeting between
them and the deputy minister.
There have been several incidents in recent
in which haredi soldiers have been subject to either verbal abuse or
physical assault for having “betrayed” the haredi community and enlisting in the
In one incident earlier this month in Jerusalem, several haredi
youths pulled a haredi soldier out of his car, tore off his yarmulke and beat
The soldier was hospitalized with minor injuries. A similar incident
occurred in the capital in May when two uniformed haredi soldiers were attacked
and beaten while walking through the haredi Mea Shearim
Danon said that the campaign is designed to delegitimize
the notion of IDF service in the haredi community.
“We cannot compromise
on the struggle against those who are besmirching military service and criminals
who attack IDF soldiers,” said the deputy minister. “We must not stand by and
watch the rift in haredi society on the issue of enlistment be accompanied by
physical and verbal abuse.”
Danon stated that he had asked Aharonovich to
deal decisively and uncompromisingly with those behind the campaign and anyone
involved in attacks on soldiers.
The uptick in attacks against haredi
soldiers has been linked to a vigorous poster and information campaign that is
being waged by hard-line elements in the haredi community in recent months
against haredi men who enlist in the Israeli army.
Such men are labeled
“hardakim,” a derogatory acronym for a “weak-minded haredi” person and also, an
amalgam of the words “haredi” and “harakim,” or insects.
distributed poster featured an illustration of a haredi soldier in IDF uniform
abandoning a haredi protest and leaping over a wall into a fiery blaze of
haredim in uniform.
“Committing suicide for a livelihood,” the poster
declares of such soldiers.
At a mass demonstration against legislation
for drafting haredi yeshiva students
last month, haredi activists handed out
pamphlets explaining how to counter the arguments of hardakim. Two weeks ago, a
competition was announced asking children and professionals to send in their
best drawings of hardakim. The haredi news website B’hadrei Haredim published on
Monday some of the submissions from the children’s category, including one
showing a garbage truck sweeping up so-called hardakim in IDF
The winning entries will be posted around haredi neighborhoods
and sent via email to a special distribution list of several hundred thousand
Posters currently on display in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods
mock recent calls not to attack haredi conscripts. The posters tout themselves
as from the “Rabbinical Court of the Community of Weak-minded Haredim,” headed
by “the great rabbis” Tzadok and Beitus, heretics from the Talmudic era, “the
mystic and convert to Islam Shabbatai Tzvi,” a false messiah from the 17th
century, and other bête noirs of the haredi community.
declaration cites various rabbinic sources supporting public opposition to
someone who commits a sin and says sarcastically in the name of the “rabbis” of
the “Rabbinical Court of Hardakim” that they do not think such methods are a
good idea any longer.