A haredi soldier was attacked by dozens of haredi men on Tuesday night in the ultra- Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea She’arim.
According to the police, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the soldier, who was in uniform, was surrounded and threatened by approximately 100 haredi men on Gimzo Street in the heart of Mea She’arim, but managed to flee to a nearby building and alert the police.
Several police units were called to the scene, including Border Police and riot officers, who forcibly broke through the crowd of haredi men and succeeded in safely extracting the soldier.
National police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the unidentified soldier was “shaken up” but not injured when police arrived, adding that stones were thrown at officers by the crowd before the soldier was transported to safety.
A low-level riot continued after the soldier was extricated, with more haredi men joining the crowd, until the police succeeded in dispersing the protesters. At least four arrests were made on charges of disturbing the peace.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the attack, vowing to “take a hard stand against those who attempt to strike fear in citizens fulfilling their duty to the state.”
Netanyahu added that the best way to combat “lawbreakers” of this kind was to continue to increase the number of haredim enlisting in the IDF, a goal he said would be greatly helped by the Peri bill to increase ultra-Orthodox enlistment which the cabinet approved earlier this week.
Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid blamed the attack on the current campaign of incitement against haredi soldiers being conducted by extremist elements in the community.
“The ongoing incitement and wild, violent attacks against enlisted haredi soldiers, like today’s serious incident, evokes deep shock,” Lapid said.
The finance minister said he would call an emergency meeting with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to look into possible methods for the police to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.