Jerusalem haredi man indicted for attack on ultra-Orthodox soldier

Man charged with one count of attacking a public official, one count of insulting a public official, and one count of interfering with a police officer while carrying out his duties.

September 2, 2015 18:42
2 minute read.
Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem.

Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

indicted for assaulting an ultra-Orthodox soldier.

On Tuesday, the State Attorney’s Office in Jerusalem charged 34-year-old Aharon Tzvi Korlandski with verbally and then physically attacking a haredi soldier – whom the indictment names only as “P.M.” – while both men were attending the evening prayer service in the haredi Jerusalem neighborhood of Ezrat Torah last month.

He has been charged with one count of attacking a public official, one count of insulting a public official, and one count of interfering with a police officer while carrying out his duties.

P.M., who is serving in the IDF’s Shahar program for ultra-Orthodox soldiers, was wearing his uniform when he went to the synagogue on August 20. According to the indictment, when Korlandski arrived at the prayer service, he noticed P.M. and began shouting, “Hardak, hardak! Get out of here now, take off your kippa, what are you praying here for?” “Hardak” is a derogatory term meaning “simple-minded haredi,” with a play on the Hebrew word for germ, “haidak.” It was coined by haredi extremist groups that have waged a fierce incitement campaign against haredi soldiers and anyone involved in encouraging ultra-Orthodox men to enlist in the IDF.

According to the indictment, Korlandski also incited other worshipers against the soldier, and several of them joined Korlandski in shouting, “Hardak!” at P.M.

One of them allegedly tried to photograph P.M. with his cellphone, even though the soldier requested several times that he not do so.

Korlandski then approached P.M., began punching him in the chest and tried to grab his beret off his shoulder, the indictment said. When P.M.’s father tried to intervene, he, too, was struck in the chest and arm, it added.

Another worshiper, Eliezer Goldis, reportedly tried to intervene and help P.M. and his father. The police were alerted to the altercation, and once Korlandski became aware of this, he fled the scene.

He was arrested on August 24 and has been in police custody since.

While in detention, he has been verbally aggressive and has physically attacked some of the prison officials, the indictment stated. It said that at various times during his incarceration, he had called police officials “a nothing, an imbecile,” “Satan,” “Nazis” and “the police of Amalek” – a reference to the ancient biblical enemy of the Israelites. At one point, he allegedly expressed the wish that Islamic State would “come to the state and wipe them out.”

The IDF said in response that it was “doing everything necessary to protect its haredi soldiers and to enable them to serve with honor while continuing their haredi lifestyle and faith.”

The so-called “hardak campaign” against haredi men serving in the IDF has taken the form of posters, pamphlets and booklets with cartoons and other images that incite readers against haredi officials involved in promoting IDF service. These publications routinely depict such people as pigs and malign elements attempting to corrupt haredi youth.

In July, extremists published a booklet containing the names, photos and contact details of senior figures in the haredi community who were promoting enlistment, as part of efforts to harass and delegitimize them.

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