Police raided on Tuesday the office of Merkaz Hatzolah, an NGO that works against haredi men joining the IDF.Officers were carrying out a court search order, police said.After police arrived at the office in the capital’s Mea She’arim neighborhood, dozens of ultra-Orthodox men gathered outside. The crowd shouted at the officers, and threw objects such as rocks and eggs at them.Backup forces arrived to disperse the rioters.A police spokesman said that around six men were arrested and taken for questioning.He added that the police condemn the disruption of public order in an effort to influence or thwart court orders and police activity.Merkaz Hatzolah’s committee condemned the police actions in a statement and called them “a desperate attempt to mute and narrow our steps and our democratic battle with the intent to harm the haredi lifestyle.”
The committee added that the assumption that policemen and policemen will deter the haredi public from this struggle is far away from reality.“These images and reports from Mea She’arim and the raid on these offices should bother every Israeli who cares about democracy,” the statement continued. “We will neither break nor surrender.We will keep up our efforts to combat the draft decree, and demand our cultural autonomy that helps us preserve our way of life and our traditions, as we have done for thousands of years.”Earlier on Tuesday, a riot was sparked when Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visited Mea She’arim to comfort a mourning family.Police were called to the scene to accompany the minister’s motorcade, which left unharmed.Liberman put out a statement saying, “during a time that our sons and daughters are endangering their lives defending our homeland, an extremist, anti-Zionist, violent gag is trying to stop haredim from joining the army. For shame.”The crowd threw rocks and other objects at the police. An eight-year-old girl was lightly injured when a rock hit her head, and was treated by a Magen David Adom crew.MK Amir Peretz, a former defense minister, responded to the events and said that despite the violence, the government should keep integrating haredi soldiers in the IDF.“We should be tough on these extremists who insist on isolating the haredi society and are not shy about using violence and incitement against IDF soldiers, the law, and state institutions,” he said.
Police forces and Haredi rioters clash next to Merkaz Hatzalah offices in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem