JERUSALEM (VINnews) — During the day they are border police serving in Jerusalem and protecting its citizens. At night they change into their Chareidi garments and blend into their local neighborhoods. Ynet interviewed four Chareidi border police about the dichotomy between their work, which had recently involved numerous conflicts with the Chareidi population as they tried to implement public health regulations in Chareidi neighborhoods.
“We are the real Neturei Karta”,(city guards), declared Sergeant Shani Aryeh (29) in a reference to the more radical sect of Chareidim which does not recognize the state or its authority. Aryeh, as well as Deputy Sergeant Tehilah Hindi(27) and Sergeant-Major Ofer Tabeka(50) and Sergeant-Major Tomer Tobol (35) are some of a significant number of Chareidim serving in the border police.
“Sometimes we get snide remarks because we are wearing uniform with a Kippah but we have learnt to accept them since we believe in our roles, said Tobol, who is married a nd a father of three and serves as a senior paramedic. “I see my role as a mission to guard the holy city and I see this as a Kiddush Hashem.”
Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish nation,” Aryeh agrees. “Every Jew in the world looks towards Jerusalem. When we are strong here, we are strong throughout the word.” He adds that “It’s important to understand that within the chareidi community there is a silent majority and a small group making waves- the extreme factions. They don’t represent the truth and only see themselves.”
“I am very proud,” says Hindi who was born and raised in the Geula neighborhood. “I see before my eyes Hadas Malka and Hadar Cohen, two border policewomen who fell in terror attacks and I say to myself: “Who am I that I should contribute as well? Now it’s my turn.”
Tabeke, who is married and a father of 11 children, is a dog handler. “When they closed the shuls, there were conflicts in the town I live in between extremists and police,” he relates. “I wasn’t in uniform, I was wearing black and white but I went up to a policeman and thanked him and said: “You should know that these guys don’t represent me.” The policeman said: “I know.”
The rabbi of Jerusalem’s border police, superintendent Asher Bitton, tells how his son’s friends once mocked him that “your father is a policeman.” The son told his friends: “my father is not in the army or the police, he’s a rabbi, a rabbi with the police.” He concludes that “sometimes we need to look at things from a child’s perspective.”