Haredi orthodox Jewish men protest 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
When police are called in to deal with a problem, it usually means that
preventative measures have not been tried to nip the developing issue in the
Nowhere is this more apparent than the eruption of extremist conduct
by hard-line elements of the haredi population.
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Senior police commanders
privately reject attempts to portray the public exclusion of women, and the
abuse viciously meted out to anyone who falls short of the extremists’
expectations, as problems that law enforcement can fully solve.
police are certainly able to apprehend a large number of suspects
assaulting members of the public, and can challenge instances of illegal gender
apartheid, they can never stamp the problem out, because of the deep rooted
social and religious factors that simmer beneath the phenomenon.
includes the acceptance by successive governments of the notion that the haredi
community can exist in a largely parallel world apart from the rest of society,
with its own education system and internal justice system.
This fact has
allowed self-appointed puritanical enforcers to terrorize fellow
It was only a matter of time before the militants spilled out of
their own community and into the wider public sphere.
force of 28,000 officers is chronically understaffed. It faces the unique
challenge of having to fight ordinary crime as well as quelling
nationalistic-religious unrest and taking on counter-terrorism roles.
addition to these vital missions, it must now also respond to offenses that stem
from a complex social breakdown.
Only other authorities, led by the
government, can collectively get to the roots of haredi extremism, and prevent
tensions from posing an even greater threat to Israel’s internal cohesion.