Beit Shemesh – An IDF officer who was on military operations inside the Gaza Strip was attacked while on temporary leave by haredi extremists in Beit Shemesh on Monday. Haredi politicians were quick to condemn the incident.
The officer, who is from Netivot, was visiting his children who were staying with their grandparents in Beit Shemesh and went to pray in a synagogue which he was unaware is used by members of an extremist haredi group in the city, the Kikar Hashabbat website reported.
He arrived by car at a synagogue in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, home to radical haredi groups, while in uniform. While he was praying, several extremists smashed the windows of his car and he was verbally abused as he left the place of worship.
Shas chairman MK Arye Deri denounced the attack calling in “an act of terrorism” and calling for the perpetrators to be dealt with like terrorists. “The hand that is raised against a soldier must be cut off.”
MK Yaakov Litzman of United Torah Judaism (UTJ) called the incident “extremely serious” and called on the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“This is a communal crime and a terrible injustice that will besmirch an entire community. The police must treat such wild people with severity,” he said on Kol Barama radio.
UTJ MK Moshe Gafni said it was an incident of the most extreme severity and was also a desecration of God’s name which endangered the haredi community.
Yesh Atid and Beit Shemesh resident MK and Rabbi Dov Lipman welcomed the condemnations of the attack by haredi politicians but said that the fierce attacks from the haredi world on the recently passed law for haredi conscription had contributed towards the atmosphere of hate towards the IDF.
“While I applaud the condemnation of the attack from haredi leaders and I know that only small numbers of extremists would ever attack soldiers, I don’t think the haredi political and rabbinic leaders can claim complete innocence,” Lipman said. “Their non-stop incitement against the government and the suggestion that haredim should serve in the army plays a role here. Had the haredi community called 500,000 people to a prayer rally on behalf of the soldiers instead of against the draft law which implies against army service, I believe the picture would be very different even among the extremists.”
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post