Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other Knesset Members on Friday afternoon condemned an incident in Jerusalem whereby a religious IDF officer from the Givati Brigade was attacked by haredim when he entered the city’s Mea Shearim neighborhood.
An initial investigation revealed that the officer, a resident of Kiryat Arba, came to the neighborhood on Friday before Shabbat to visit two of his soldiers, one a lone soldier and a second whose grandfather died in recent days.
As he was preparing to leave the neighborhood, locals allegedly attacked the officer and threw rocks at his car. He was not injured but his car was damaged. The officer was able to flee the scene and filed a complaint with police.
Responding to the incident, the IDF said that the military “has added to its ranks in recent years thousands of haredi recruits who serve in significant roles in all military units. The IDF strongly denounces and condemns any attempt to harm its commanders and soldiers, who work day and night to defend the state and its citizens.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch following the incident and later condemned it as well.
“This is an outrageous incident, and the lawbreakers who raised a hand against an IDF officer should be prosecuted. Military service is a source of pride. The IDF is the people’s army that protects us all. Population groups from all of Israeli society serve in it – that’s how it was and how it will continue to be,” he said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said following the incident that “the assault on an IDF officer in Jerusalem today is a shameful and ugly act that requires immediate attention on the part of law enforcement agencies. We must not be forgiving of violence, and woe to us if soldiers and officers in Israel are attacked because they are wearing IDF uniforms.”
Ya’alon continued, “The IDF recruits soldiers from across the population, including haredim, and gives them an opportunity to engage in the army and then integrate into Israeli society. We must act to the fullest extent of the law against those who try to harm IDF soldiers who are safeguarding the security of Israeli citizens, and by doing so try to hurt the entire Israeli society.”
Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) said, “We will not forgive those who assault IDF soldiers. The police must locate them and make sure that such an incident does not repeat itself. This is only a handful of provocateurs to whom the definitive answer is to strengthen the unity of the people of Israel.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said, “The assault on the IDF officer is the crossing of a red line that is forbidden! I regret the fact that on the week that we remember our fallen sons, thanks to whom all Israeli citizens can live in security – that such hatred and violence break out and hatred is sown. I call on the haredi sector to condemn the incident and immediately denounce those extremists who impose sludge on Israeli society as a whole and on the haredi sector in particular.”
Shas leader Aryeh Deri responded to the incident as well and condemned it, saying, “There is a limit! An assault on a soldier by Jewish extremists is an act of terrorism. A serious act took place today and I demand that the police to do everything possible to bring those criminals to justice immediately.”