Daily Israel Report

Police Complaint over Anti-Hareidi Campaign

Jerusalem man deliberately caused Sabbath desecration. Hareidi MK calls to ‘stop the incitement.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 12/10/2013, 9:16 PM

MKs Gafni, Eichler, Moses
MKs Gafni, Eichler, Moses
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A hareidi-religious rights group in Jerusalem has filed a police complaint over behavior exhibited by an irreligious man in the neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel.

The man was seen deliberately harassing hareidi-religious residents of the neighborhood on a TV special by Channel 2’s Micki Heimovich. The special focused on the hareidi-religious “takeover” of formerly secular neighborhoods.

Among other things, the show saw the man from Kiryat Yovel put up deliberately offensive advertising in hareidi areas, and cut the wires of the local eiruv, which allows Jews to carry objects outdoors on the Sabbath. Destruction of the eiruv could cause widespread unwitting Sabbath desecration.

As rights group representative Yaakov Lebi told police, “The suspect himself said on the program that he doesn’t care about the law.”

They warned, “The combination of a campaign of denigrating and fear-mongering against the hareidi community, together with law-breaking in order to offend hareidi sensibilities, creates a dangerous slippery slope.”

“A person who ignores the law on public property is close to causing physical injury… If this complaint is not dealt with appropriately, criminal behavior will only increase under the ongoing incitement, and soon we’ll need to deal with much more serious complaints of physical violence,” Lebi said.

MK slams 'anti-Semitic' coverage
The Channel 2 investigation, part of the Hamaarechet program, was the subject of discussion in Knesset on Tuesday. MK Eliezer Moses of the hareidi-religious Yahadut Hatorah (Gimmel) party slammed the program in an address to Knesset, terming it “anti-Semitic.”

“The media presented a program, in the guise of an investigation, in which hareidi-religious Jews were portrayed with anti-Semitism and tremendous hatred as coming to live in ‘secular’ cities, as if they were foreign occupiers taking over Israeli cities,” he accused.

“How low can the media go?” Moses asked, adding, “Do you think the investigation would have been met with silence if it had targeted the Arab community, or the Ethiopian community, or immigrants from Russia?”

“I would like to note that in many of the cities discussed in the ‘investigation,’ hareidi-religious Jews were part of building those cities,” he noted.

Hareidi-religious Jews have no choice but to seek housing solutions outside existing hareidi neighborhoods, he said, due to the serious housing crisis within the community, which has rapid natural growth.

“Stop this horrible incitement. This [hareidi] community deserves basic housing, like every other community in Israel,” he concluded.