Meah She’arim, Jerusalem
Wednesday August 9, 2017
The anti-Zionist denizens of Meah She’arim are no strangers to violence from the Israeli police, but yesterday’s vicious raid and vandalization of the offices of Merkaz Hatzola on Chevras Shas Street – and its aftermath – brought the level of brutality to a pinnacle seldom seen in recent memory.
Yesterday, August 8th, a large police detail – backed-up with an even larger force of plainclothesmen as well as riot-police in full gear, who were waiting in the nearby streets and alleyways – arrived with a search warrant to confiscate documents, files, and computers from the offices of Merkaz Hatzola, an organization spearheading the fight against the forced conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the IDF, and offering legal assistance to them to obtain exemptions or deferments.
There is a huge chasm of division between Zionism– with its State of “Israel” – and Torah-true, authentic Judaism.Nowhere is the ideological divide more sharply apparent than in the current struggle over forced conscription into the IDF. The religious Jewish 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 of the Israeli army.Whoever resists them is arrested, and those who dare to speak out are arrested with particular brutality. In their cruel attacks they spare neither the young nor the elderly, neither women nor children.
It is a widely-held belief that the true purpose of the forced conscription is not the enhancement of the numbers of servicemen – the primary goal is to force the community’s youth to violate their religious beliefs, to mold them into “modern (secular) Israeli citizens,” to have them abandon the Torah.
Large communities of hundreds of thousands of Jews are now struggling to avoid service in the IDF. Their only wish is to live at peace with their non-Jewish neighbors, serve G-d as they and their patents have for generations, and continue with their daily lives.
Merkaz Hatzola is one of the main places to which they turn. In addition to its ongoing protests against the draft of the ultra-Orthodox,Merkaz Hatzola keeps up-to-date with every new law and ordinance; has a staff of devoted and knowledgeable workers and volunteers, who not only give advice but also send representatives, when necessary, to accompany the young, inexperienced youths through the (intentionally!) intimidating procedures.
A group of enraged neighborhood residents gathered to protest the police action, quickly swelling to hundreds. The police immediately called in the waiting reinforcements and attempted to disperse the legal, peaceful, and spontaneous gathering – using almost unheard-of force and brutality. Men, women, and children were viciously attacked and assaulted – merely for standing in the streets of their own neighborhood and voicing their opposition to the police actions.
Four Jews who were present in the office were arrested, as well as two other bystanders. It is noteworthy to report that all were almost immediately released by the court. The attorneys representing them stressed that Merkaz Hatzola conducts all its activities in line with existing laws, and brought numerous cases as proof. “You might not like the organization,” Attorney Nadav Gedalyahu told the court, “but there is nothing illegal about what they do; they are within their free, democratic rights.”
Judge Michel Hirschfeld ordered that the defendants be released without any conditions.
Nonetheless, police investigators – who, incidentally were forced to admit in court that they overextended their legal authority and broke into an additional office, for which they did not have a search warrant – insisted that the defendants be held in remand until the case could be heard by a higher court.
The higher court, before which the case was brought this evening, upheld Judge Hirschfeld’s ruling, and the defendants were unconditionally released.
Analysts familiar with the situation, it is reported, believe that the exceptionally vicious police brutality was a direct act of revenge for the “welcome” Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman received when he arrived to pay a condolence call earlier in the day at Rechov Avrohon MiSlonim, just one street away from the Merkaz Hatzola offices, as previously reported here.
Officials at Merkaz Hatzola, in a statement today to the media, announced that not only has the office at Chevras Shas Street been renovated and refurbished, with all confiscated equipment replaced, but that a decision was reached at an emergency meeting last night to open five new offices in different locations throughout the Orthodox, anti-Zionist enclaves in the Holy Land, to continue and intensify the battle against conscription into the immoral, blasphemous Israeli army. “Their vicious attack of our office,” a spokesman said, “when we go out of our way to follow to the line all their laws and regulations – even though we don’t believe in them – just shows how desperate they are. Anti-Zionist Jews, as conscientious objectors, deserve the right to be exempt from service in the Israeli army as described in UN Commission on Human Rights, resolution 1998/77. By forcing our communities to serve in the IDF, the Israeli government is trampling on our religious rights. By oppressing non-violent protestors, they are trampling on our freedom of speech.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. G-d is with us, and victory will be ours!”