Haredi soldier: My life is in peril due to haredi incitement
IDF soldier files complaint against ultra-Orthodox daily, claiming that paper's editorial put his life in jeopardy; daily denies inciting to violence, but insists that 'collaborators' who don military uniform within haredi neighborhoods 'legitimize' idea of draft
A haredi youth serving in the IDF filed a complain with the police Thursday against the ultra-Orthodox daily HaPeles, claiming that the paper's fiery editorial condemning haredi "collaborators" with the establishment had put his life in jeopardy.
The complaint came the same day as a report proposing far-reaching reforms to the process of enlistment of haredim into the IDF was submitted to the Knesset. The committee responsible for the report, headed by Minister Yaakov Peri of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party, suggested drafting some 65% of haredim at the age of 21 following a three-year transition period. The proposal calls, among other things, for economic sanctions against yeshivas whose students dodge IDF service.
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HaPeles editorial read "there are collaborators among us who appear in military attire at the heart of our neighborhoods, with the purpose of instilling in the minds of our youths the idea that such dress is perfectly legitimate. Yet there is a positive trend brewing under the surface, one of condemning the collaborators."
"This trend has intensified in the wake of the groundbreaking rally against the enlistment," read the article, referring to last week's protest in front of Jerusalem's military recruitment center. Eight participants were arrested in the protest that quickly turned violent. "One hopes this destructive phenomenon will disappear by the grace of Heaven, and visible and disguised collaborators alike will realize their place is not amongst us."
The soldier's complainant claimed that verbal abuse and threats against him and his family on the haredi street have escalated, and that he feared such rhetoric would increase the likelihood of a soldier suffering real harm at the hands of overzealous haredi assailants. Jerusalem police said they launched an investigation into the matter.
HaPeles responded to the allegations saying "The newspaper did not incite to act violently against any Jew. The newspaper warned against the growing phenomenon of those trying to seduce and persuade ultra-Orthodox youths to abandon their way of life, the Torah, in order to join the army."
"While in the eyes of the general public, conscripting to the military is the right thing, in the eyes of haredim the Torah is that which ensures the existence of the Jewish people in Israel and in the Diaspora and that will ensure the future of the Jewish people."
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