Haredi residents demand protection after attacks

They have become frightened to walk around the streets of their neighborhood following a wave of beatings and desecrations of synagogues.

anti-semitism 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
anti-semitism 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Religious residents of the Hadar neighborhood are demanding that police and the city take immediate action to stop violent attacks on them and their property, according to the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. They say that in recent weeks they have become frightened to walk around the streets of their neighborhood after dark following a wave of beatings of haredi residents and desecrations of synagogues. According to the report, Hadar residents say they are seeing "daily" examples of threats and violence in their neighborhood, with some of it aimed at the general public and some aimed specifically at religious residents. One haredi man was hospitalized after being set upon and beaten recently, and Jewish symbols have been vandalized. "The violence in Hadar has reached the point that in many streets people are frightened to walk in the dark," one resident said. Meanwhile, a local rabbi has urged police to take action to curb the violence. "We are speaking about the most severe incidents possible, in which people have been beaten, abused and humiliated, and all of this only because they are haredi," the rabbi said. "The police must use every means possible to catch these malicious types who attack religious people for no reason, and to punish them with the utmost severity. As for the long term, education toward tolerance and openness will be more efficient than law enforcement." The police officer in charge of the Haifa station, Dudu Ben-Atia, said crime in Hadar was actually falling, and there were 32 police officers permanently stationed in the neighborhood. He also denied that the latest wave of violence was targeting the religious sector, saying, "We are not speaking about violence against the haredi population, but about violence in general, without any exclusiveness by the religious sector." But residents and several Haifa councilors said the desecration of religious symbols and the attacks on religious residents should not be tolerated. One Shas councilor even said neighborhood patrols should operate to catch attackers and "break their arms and legs."