Report: Haredim demand UN troops protect Meah Shearim

According to report, group of radical haredim disseminated petition calling on United Nations to protect them from police violence.

Tzvi Lev,

Jerusalem riots
Jerusalem riots
Flash 90

A group of radical haredim have initiated a petition calling on the United Nations to protect them from what they say is police brutality they suffer at the hands of Israeli law enforcement.

According to the Behadrei Haredim website, haredim in both Israel and the United States have sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres requesting troops to protect them in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood.

"On April 15 a protest was held at the recruitment center in Jerusalem following the arrest of a Jewish religious girl earlier that day. During the demonstration, police brutally attacked the demonstrators. The police directed water hoses at the demonstrators, without separating demonstrators from passersby," wrote the letter.

According to the missive, "Some of the children were flying as a result of the water's impact and were injured. Police officers galloped with horses into the crowd, the police fired dozens, and perhaps hundreds of stun grenades into the crowd of demonstrators, dozens of people were seriously injured. The demonstrators also suffered significant damage to property."

The petition asked Guterres "to address the concerns of Jews from all over the world who ask with honor that the United Nations should establish an independent commission to investigate these terrible atrocities against peaceful demonstrators."

According to the report, haredim in the US are also planning on holding an anti-Israel demonstration outside UN headquarters in New York City in which they hope to draw attention to "the serious violations of international human rights law by the Israeli police".

In recent months, the Yerushalmi Faction has organized a series of demonstrations across the country, protesting the arrest of haredi draft-dodgers, many of whom intentionally failed to register for draft deferments.

Many demonstrators have accused police of using excessive force in breaking up unauthorized protests, which have included road-blocking demonstrations shutting down traffic at major intersections including Shilat Junction on Highway 443 near Modiin, the intersection of Sarei Yisrael Street and Jaffa Street in Jerusalem.

Organizers of the wave of protests have encouraged demonstrators to film incidents of police violence. In September, police officers were documented using what appeared was excessive force while breaking up a haredi anti-draft demonstration in Jerusalem.

Videos showed police punching and kicking haredi demonstrators and throwing protestors to the ground unprovoked. One clip showed a police commander purposely breaking a demonstrator's glasses with no apparent provocation.

However, police officers often contend that using rough measures in the only way to break up violent haredi demonstrations that often tie up major traffic arteries for hours, causing gridlock and economic loss.

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