(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Police were called into Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood after three uniformed IDF soldiers were surrounded by a hostile mob of haredim while praying in an area synagogue.
At approximately 11 a.m.
on Thursday, the unidentified soldiers were threatened for their military service by 80 men, according to Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld “Several ultra-Orthodox residents spotted the three soldiers praying inside one of the synagogues in the neighborhood, and we soon received an emergency call from one of the soldiers saying that there was a demonstration outside and that they were surrounded and threatened,” said Rosenfeld.
“Police, including a Special Patrol unit, were immediately dispatched and dispersed the crowd before they were able to harm the soldiers whatsoever. They escorted the soldiers out of the synagogue before any major instances occurred and stepped up patrols in and around the neighborhood to prevent any further incidents from taking place,” he said.
Rosenfeld said no arrests were carried out, adding that tensions in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of the capital have been heightened following a recent rise in haredi conscription to the IDF, while the majority of haredi citizens strongly oppose military service.
“This is a result of the tensions within the community, and police will continue to ensure incidents like this are prevented or immediately stopped,” he said.
In recent years, radical elements within the haredi community have conducted a campaign of incitement against haredi soldiers, publishing flyers, posters, public notices and booklets denouncing them and portraying them as pigs and in other offensive ways.
Incidents in which haredi soldiers and officials involved in efforts to increase haredi enlistment are verbally abused in haredi neighborhoods are commonplace, and there have been several instances of physical violence against them.Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.