top of page

Five Peaceful Protesters Brutally Arrested

Jerusalem, Tuesday 27 June 2017

Police last night arrested five residents of the Orthodox, anti-Zionist neighborhood of Meah Shearim, in a planned provocative action.Their crime? Shouting at undercover policemen disguised as “religious” soldiers.

According to official police sources: “detectives of the central unit of the police operated a short time ago in planned and initiated activity in the Meah Shearim neighborhood, as part of a wide range of overt and covert actions carried out by the police against the phenomenon of incitement against uniformed men.”

The operation was the latest in a series of actions by the police aimed at squashing public protest against the drafting of religious Jews into the Israeli army. The goal of the police is to arrest those who shout the insult “chardak” at religious soldiers who walk through their neighborhood.

The practice of publicly shaming religious soldiers was begun by community members three years ago in response to the passing of the draft law in the Knesset in 2014, and the subsequent efforts by the government to recruit as many religious soldiers as possible. The draft law will not become mandatory for another 3 years, but the government hopes to make army service for the traditionally Orthodox community socially acceptable by that time. The religious community has always been staunchly opposed to joining the Israeli army, following the fundamental principle of Jewish belief that Jews are in exile and are forbidden to have their own state or army, or to wage wars against any nation. This is in addition to their objection to the ongoing immoral behavior in the Israeli army. From that viewpoint, the Israeli government’s effort to make the draft a “normal” part of Orthodox life, is a dangerous threat to basic Judaism.

The community’s response was to make anyone wearing a soldier’s uniform together with Orthodox trappings such as beards, sidelocks and yarmulkes as unwelcome as possible among religious Jews. Any such person venturing into the Orthodox neighborhood is likely to be hear people chanting after him and calling him the epithet “chardak” (a contraction of the words “chareidi kal daas”, meaning a religious person who has abandoned Torah principles, and similar in sound to the Hebrew word “chaidak”, meaning an insect). It is important to note that the campaign against the religious soldiers is strictly non-violent.

During the course of Monday night’s operation, again according to official police sources: "When the local residents noticed the uniformed men, they gathered around them and shouted at them as they tried to prevent them from continuing their walk in the neighborhood.”

In an open assault on the right to free speech, the Israeli police have adopted a policy to consider shouting at and shaming a soldier a crime, and those committing this so-called crime are being handled by police as rioters. The police barbarically brutalize and arrest young and old religious Jewish people, who non-violently protest against the draft law.

These operations are yet another proof that the State of Israel, its spokesmen and its actions do not represent the Jewish people. The State of Israel is not a Jewish state, it is a Zionist state.

bottom of page