Street View in Meah Shearim
Street View in Meah ShearimIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Posters appeared in Jerusalem on Thursday claiming that for every yeshiva student who is drafted into the IDF, a group calling itself “The Underground Organization Against the Draft of Hareidim in the Land of Israel” would attack an IDF soldier.

Addressing the “military authorities,” the poster says that “you will realize that you made a mistake” in authorizing jail time for hareidi yeshiva students who refuse to join the IDF. “For every hareidi youth forced to go to prison over his refusal to join the army, the hareidim will take revenge.”

The poster says that the “revenge” would come in the form of lashes. “For every hareidi youth imprisoned, and for each day he is imprisoned, an IDF soldier will receive 18 lashes with a whip. You have been warned,” the poster adds.

The poster was seen as the reaction of a fringe group among the many angry sectors of the hareidi community, reacting after the Perry Committee approved the clause mandating prosecution of those who do not enlist as part of its draft reforms legislation recommendations on Wednesday.

Headlines in the hareidi press castigated the “empire of evil” and “destroyers of Torah” for threatening to jail youths for the “sin of Torah study,” as hareidi newspaper Hamodia expressed it.

Hareidi newspaper Yated Ne'eman wrote that “the spirit of the Jewish world is disgusted and sickened at the horrible decision by the Perry Committee, and the wild incitement against those who learn Torah that accompanied this decision.”

The headline in the Hamevaser newspaper read “Arrogant Ones, You Will Not 'Educate' Us,” with an editorial stating that the Perry Committee was trying to “remake hareidi society, and teach us what it means to contribute to society and to have a moral standard,” standards that hareidi society, with a wide-ranging network of mutual and communal assistance (hessed and gemach) organizations, needed no help to implement. “This behavior on the part of the state is nothing less than 'chutzpah,' after the Education Minister and his cronies called us 'parasites.' You will not insult us and educate us in the same breath,” the editorial stated.