Aharonovich Flash 90

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich told the Knesset Wednesday that there have recently been numerous attacks on soldiers by hareidi extremists, and that most of these have gone unreported.

Aharonovich denounced the attackers of a hareidi soldier in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood Tuesday as “outlaws, criminals,” he said. “A small group that does not represent the hareidi public, yet does things that cannot be countenanced.”

The minister said that he spoke Wednesday morning with the mother of the soldier who was attacked. “I offered encouragement. I strengthened her,” he said. “The police will continue to investigate. I have asked to be updated regarding the investiggation as it advances.

All four suspects in the attack will be formally charged soon, he promised.

"In the last few days there were five incidents of attacks against hareidi soldiers,” he said. “We know of dozens of additional incidents of this nature that are not reported. The IDF authorities know about this. This is a grave and serious phenomenon. We will act with zero tolerance.”

He added that he spoke to Finance Minister Yair Lapid about the matter and that “the Finance Ministry will assist the Jerusalem Police with adding manpower.”

There is great anger in the hareidi community since the formation of the governing coalition, which left hareidim out. The Coalition includes the Yesh Atid paty, which is staunchly opposed to the decades-long arrangement that allows most hareidi men to avoid service in the IDF. Other coalition members, including the Religious Zionist Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, also support hareidi enlistment, with exceptions being made only for outstanding Torah students.

The enlistment of hareidim is mandated in a bill formulated by a committee chaired by a Yesh Atid minister, which the Knesset is due to vote on in the coming weeks. The bill was approved by the government Sunday, meaning that it will most likely pass.