Nachal Hareidi soldier (file)
Nachal Hareidi soldier (file) Israel news photo: Flash 90

After a string of attacks against hareidi religious soldiers, the IDF has informed them that they are exempt from wearing their uniforms off-base.

The latest attack occurred when a hareidi religious member of the IDF claimed that he was accosted while walking in the center of Bnei Brak with his family. The man, a resident of Bnei Brak, was wearing his army uniform at the time.

Speaking to the Kikar Hashabbat web site, that man said that in recent weeks he had begun feeling very uncomfortable wearing his IDF uniform in Bnei Brak, given the tension over the government's attempts to pass a law that would require the vast majority of hareidi yeshiva students to serve in the army. “I have been cursed on spit upon, but the incident that occurred last week was unprecedented.”

Several large youths approached him and started calling him derogatory names. It appeared that they were about to hit him. The soldier and family members broke into a run, trying to get away from the gang, he said. “If we had not run I believe they would have physically attacked me,” he said.

In recent weeks, posters have appeared in hareidi neighborhoods calling on IDF soldiers not to wear their uniforms while in hareidi areas. The posters have been full of incendiary language, and other soldiers have reported being threatened while wearing uniforms. On Friday, an IDF spokesperson said that the army would grant a special dispensation to hareidi soldiers that would not require them to wear their uniforms off-base, unlike other soldiers.