Video: Extremists besiege religious soldier

Extremist haredi youths turned violent at the sight of a kippah-wearing soldier in uniform. An eyewitness recounts the experience.

Gil Ronen ,

Inside the shop
Inside the shop
Photo: David Azman

Several dozen extremist haredi youths turned into a violent mob at the sight of a kippah-wearing soldier in uniform yesterday, in Jerusalem's Me'ah She'arim neighborhood.

The mob shouted "hardak!" – a slur that sounds like the Hebrew word for "germ" and is often directed by extremists at fellow haredim who dare to join the Israeli military. The soldier was shopping for books, but the bookshop turned into his shelter as the menacing crowd outside grew in size, and threw bags full of garbage. The store owners pulled down the storefront security grill and police were called.

David Azman, a New York based realtor, was inside the store. He shot the accompanying video and wrote Arutz Sheva about the unpleasant experience:

As someone who visits Israel several times a year, I’ve been fortunate to never witness firsthand the horrible behavior of Mea Shearim's next generation... until today. As I was gift shopping with my young sons, my attention was pulled away to the yelling of “chardak” at the American boy in uniform with a yarmulka on his head who was shopping next to me.

The screaming grew louder as the crowd of children grew larger. The owners of the store tried getting them to disperse. They were forced to close the metal gates and keep us, along with the soldier, protected within the store until police and MADA showed up. All the tourists in the store were saying how sad it was to see these uneducated children and young adults protesting one of our own, who puts his life on the line daily to protect ALL of us!

As we waited inside, with the crowds screaming “chardak” and “Nazis” as the police showed up, I came to the realization that something must be done from both sides. Legal action must be taken against the incitement of soldiers and the rabbonim of these neighborhoods need to speak up and say that this is not ok. We are all one People, whether we wear a streimel, a black hat, knitted kippah or no yarmulke at all.

A boy, with an M16 in hand, who protects our land, had to be helplessly escorted out the back door in order not to be attacked by these haters.

"How do I explain to my 9 year old son what was happening?", Azman asked, in conclusion. "This is not what G-d wants from us".

Police arrive on the scene.
Photo: Anonymous