Yishai condemns 'wild incitement' against haredim

Interior Minister slams haredi violence but says entire community targeted for actions of small group of extremists.

Eli Yishai 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Eli Yishai 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) on Sunday condemned violence perpetrated by haredi [ultra-Orthodox] extremists but said that he believes there is "wild incitement" against all haredim.
"Everyone knows that we are talking about a small group within haredi society, but there is incitement against all of the haredim," Yishai stated in an Army Radio interview.
RELATED:'Haredi attack on girl nauseating, disgusting’Police planning crackdown on Beit Shemesh radicals
"Haredi women and children are being attacked and cursed away from the cameras," the interior minister contended. "I don't want my words being interpreted as support for wild and extremist behavior. The legal authorities must deal with this small, extremist group."
Yishai distanced himself from haredi demonstrators that invoked the Holocaust in describing the "oppression and "incitement" against them by pinning yellow stars to their chests in a Saturday night protest in Jerusalem. "I don't support the use of any symbol from the Holocaust in demonstrations," he stated.
Approximately 1,500 ultra-Orthodox men gathered at Shabbat Square in the capital’s Geula neighborhood on Saturday night to protest what they called the “oppression” and “incitement” of the “secular community” against them.
Dozens of men wore yellow Stars of David on their jackets with the word “Jude” in the center, and banners bearing slogans such as “Zionists are not Jews” and “Zionism is racism” were paraded at the rally.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak strongly condemned Sunday the use of Holocaust symbols in the protest.
"The prisoner uniforms and 'Jude' badges are shocking and appalling. The use of yellow stars and little children waving their hands in surrender crosses a red line that the haredi leadership, which is largely responsible, must not accept. The haredi leaders must uproot this forbidden phenomena and ensure that it will not return," Barak said in a statement.
Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef on Saturday addressed tensions between secular and haredi communities in Israel, saying in his weekly sermon, "We do not hate the secular people, but rather love them, we bring them closer."
Yosef spoke out against extremism, stating that "there are haredim carrying out forbidden acts, that our Torah forbids, they must be denounced."
Jeremy Sharon and Melanie Lidman contributed to this report