Kiryat Gat chief rabbi threatened over support for haredi IDF service

Religious Services Ministry taking steps to protect Rabbi Moshe Havlin.

September 21, 2016 22:23
1 minute read.
A HAREDI MAN shows his call-up notice to soldiers

A HAREDI MAN shows his call-up notice to soldiers to allow him entry to the Jerusalem recruitment office. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Religious Services Minister David Azoulay has called for steps to be taken to protect Kiryat Gat Chief Rabbi Moshe Havlin following severe incitement and physical attacks against him and his family from Natorei Karta extremists.

Havlin, who is a leader of the Chabad community, was reportedly a key figure in an agreement reached several weeks ago between Chabad yeshivot and the IDF, whereby young Chabad men can postpone their military service and go abroad for two years to work as Chabad emissaries.

As part of the agreement, 85% of emissaries will enlist in the IDF upon their return, while 15%, to be chosen by Chabad yeshiva deans, will be given an exemption as Torah scholars.

Earlier this month, a handful of activists from the extremist, anti-Zionist Natorei Karta group broke into Havlin’s house in Kiryat Gat, attacked the rabbi and his wife, broke furniture, blew shofarot, and shouted various imprecations at him.

Havlin’s wife was hospitalized as a result of the attack.

Three men were subsequently arrested and charged with assault.

Two other protests by several dozen haredi extremists associated with the radical Jerusalem Faction and the anti-Zionist Edah Haredit communal organization have been staged outside the rabbi’s since the first incident.

According to the Religious Services Ministry, Havlin has also received death threats.

On Wednesday, ministry director-general Oded Flus met with the attorney- general and the ministry’s security service to find a solution to these threats.

“It is unthinkable that a municipal chief rabbi receives threats against his life,” said Flus. “We are in touch with the police and will examine the possibilities for the rabbi.”

Earlier this week, Chief Rabbi David Lau denounced the attacks on Havlin and his wife at a meeting of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate.

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