One month ago Internal Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch promised to deal with cases in which hareidi-religious Israelis were attacked. However, while police have made the cases among their top priorities, they have yet to apprehend suspects.
Aharonovitch had been challenged by hareidi-religious MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) over a series of attacks that were apparently motivated by anti-hareidi sentiment. The attacks followed heavy media coverage of attacks carried out by members of an extremist hareidi sect in Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.
“Send me specific events, and I’ll check each complaint and incident… and see how they are being handled,” Aharonovitch told Eichler.
The promised response to Eichler’s complaint came Sunday, and revealed that a suspect was nabbed in only one case – an attack on a hareidi boy as he waited at a bus stop in Jerusalem. The suspect was found to be suffering mental retardation and thus unable to stand trial. His brother apologized to the child’s mother, who dropped the charges.
Eichler had asked about four other cases: anti-hareidi graffiti in Ashdod, similar graffiti in Modiin Illit, an attack on a hareidi girl on a bus in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, and an attack on a hareidi man that left him with serious injuries to an eye socket. In each case, police continue to investigate, but have no suspects.
Eichler expressed satisfaction at Aharonovich’s response to his query. “The minister’s investigation in itself encourages police and investigators to act,” he said.
He expressed frustration, however, at the fact that so few cases had been solved. “When a non-hareidi woman is attacked in Beit Shemesh, five men are arrested… even though in the end none is indicted. The deterrence is important in preventing violence. Why are there no suspects in any of the cases in which hareidim were attacked?”