IDF Soldier Attacked In Bnei Brak

Days after massive hareidi protest of yeshiva funding cuts, soldier attacked and sent to hospital. Follows hareidi MK warnings to Lapid.

Ari Yashar ,

Elazar Rubinstein - News 24

An IDF soldier was set upon by anonymous attackers in the hareidi neighborhood of Bnei Brak on Sunday. The attack occurred while the soldier was waiting at a bus station on Jabotinsky Street.

Magen David Adom (MDA) and United Hatzalah medics gave the wounded soldier medical treatment, and then sent him to the Tel Hashomer Hospital for treatment of light injuries.

Police have begun investigating the circumstances of the attack, and said that they are considering it possibly a "nationalistically-motivated" incident. It is unclear at the moment whether that is a reference to Arab terrorism or radical hareidi anti-Zionists.

The attack comes after violent protests broke out last week, bringing thousands of hareidim to the streets of Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Ashdod; in the latter city, a police car was torched by rioters. The protests were sparked by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who last Wednesday cut funding to all yeshivas.

Lapid's move followed a Supreme Court ruling, stipulating the government annul funds to yeshivas whose students' IDF enlistment was deferred by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, a postponement made until new laws on hareidi enlistment are passed in the next few weeks.

Hareidi MK Yaakov Asher (United Torah Judaism) last Thursday accused Lapid of stirring up violence for political gain, charging "he doesn't want us in the army, he wants hareidi violence on the streets. That gives him votes."

Asher warned the state is now in a "long period of pushing the hareidim to the wall that will bring extremism. This is how the 'hilltop youth' phenomenon started when the right-wing felt pushed to the wall."

Meanwhile hareidi MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) last Wednesday called the new steps against the hareidi yeshivas a "culture war."

Last July, hareidim in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Meah Shearim attacked a hareidi soldier, ganging up on him as a mob and pelting him with stones. Police were called in to extricate the soldier.