Second ultra-Orthodox soldier attacked by fellow haredim in 2 days

Conscript cursed, attacked by car full of ultra-Orthodox men opposed to army service.

July 11, 2013 22:01
2 minute read.
Haredi combat soldiers

Haredi combat soldiers 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

In the second such attack in two days, on Thursday evening a uniformed soldier was assaulted in the capital by fellow haredim opposed to ultra- Orthodox army service.

According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, around 6:30 p.m., while the soldier was walking alone on Shmuel Hanavi Street, the assailants drove up and began cursing him and throwing objects at him without provocation.

“The man took shelter in a nearby building and police units arrived shortly thereafter to protect him and secure the scene,” said Rosenfeld. “He was uninjured and has since filed a complaint.”

Rosenfeld said no arrests had been made, but that police were actively searching for the vehicle.

A similar incident occurred in the capital on Tuesday evening, when dozens of haredi men attacked another uniformed haredi soldier in the ultra- Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She’arim.

At approximately 7:30 p.m., that soldier was surrounded and threatened by nearly 100 haredi men on Gimzo Street, he but managed to flee to a nearby building and alert police.

Several police units were called to the scene, including border police and riot officers, who forcibly broke through the crowd of haredi men and safely extracting the soldier.

Rosenfeld said the unidentified soldier was “shaken up” but not wounded, adding that the crowd threw stones at officers.

A low-level riot continued after the soldier was extricated, with more haredi men joining the crowd, until the police dispersed it.

At least four arrests were made on charges of disturbing the peace.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promptly condemned the attack, vowing to “take a strong stand against those who attempt to strike fear in citizens fulfilling their duty to the state.”

There have been at least two other assaults against ultra-Orthodox soldiers by haredim in recent weeks, following a campaign to delegitimize and stigmatize men who choose to serve in the IDF as “betraying” their community.

The campaign includes the dissemination of flyers, posters and information about the “danger” these soldiers pose to the ultra-Orthodox.

In a Knesset committee hearing last week, Brig.-Gen. Gadi Agmon, of the IDF Manpower Directorate, noted that the army has received 80 complaints of physical violence and verbal abuse against haredi soldiers by members of their community.

Complaints include having their tires slashed, graffiti sprayed on their homes, being been spat on and having stones thrown at them.

Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri, who headed a committee that drew up legislation for drafting haredi men into the army, strongly condemned the ongoing harassment.

“Any attempt to physically harm or [damage] the morale of soldiers will be answered immediately and uncompromisingly by the state,” Peri said shortly after Tuesday’s incident.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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