A haredi soldier was attacked by dozens of haredim in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood. The soldier ran into a nearby building and called in police forces, which managed to rescue him unharmed.
The haredim on site were throwing stones at the forces trying to disperse the crowds, and four rioters were arrested for disturbing the peace.
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Police said that the soldier, a resident of central Israel, arrived in the Mea Shearim neighborhood to visit relatives. When he was attacked, he fled to a nearby structure, where he changed into civilian attire and contacted police to report the assault.
Suspect arrested (Photo: Nissan Zeev)
Photo: Nissan Zeev
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Scene of attack in Jerusalem (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
After clashes subsided, haredim gathered in the area, crying out against haredi soldiers and calling police 'Nazis.'
Following the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack and said that "we will take a hard line against whoever tries to intimidate the citizens who are fulfilling their duty to the State."
Netanyahu added that "the best answer for these lawbreakers is the number of haredi recruits, which has increased significantly in the past few years and will continue to grow."
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also referred to the event and said: "The attack is despicable and abhorrent, and requires serious treatment. We cannot allow violent hooligans to threaten the peace of young haredim who choose to join the IDF ."
Ya'alon further added: "They should be brought to justice with zero tolerance and we will fight this trend with severity. I call on the leaders of the haredi public to condemn the violence and vigorously eradicate such phenomena."
Nahal Haredi rabbis condemned the attack, saying it was "an act of hatred that is un-Jewish and un-Orthodox", "blasphemy" and "shame and disgrace".
An exceptional statement by the rabbis read that "the fact we are at the nine-day period before Tisha B'Av, in which we commemorate the destruction of the Temple, places this act of hatred in a shameful light. It is time for the haredi public to denounce the attackers."
Attack in Jerusalem (Photo: Ariel Finder, 24 News)
In response to the riots, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that "The ongoing incitement against these violent attacks of haredi recruits, such as the grave incident that took place in Jerusalem tonight, are appalling and should be condemned by everyone."
Lapid added that he intended to hold an emergency meeting with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich in order to see what police can do to prevent such incidents from recurring.
Knesset Committee for Promoting Equal Share of the Burden Chairman Yaakov Peri fiercely condemned the attack and said that "any attempt to physically or spiritually harm soldiers should be dealt with harsh penalties by the State."
Peri further added that "such event should not be tolerated by the authorities. I ask the leaders of the haredi community to take responsibility before a disaster occurs."
Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri also condemned the assault, saying "I'm appalled of the deeds of extremist teens who shamelessly hurt a Jewish soldier."
Violence against haredi soldiers has recently seen a marked rise, possibly due to the public dispute over the draft reform, set to conscript the previously largely exempt haredi sector.
In May, it was revealed that the IDF Advocate General was assembling cases of violence, incitement and assault targeting haredi soldiers, with the purpose of filing indictments against those behind the attacks.
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