In recent months there has been an increase in violent attacks against religious Jews in Israel who join the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police.
The leaders of the Orthodox Union, Rabbinical Council of America and National Council of Young Israel have issued official statements condemning such attacks. The statements were issued at the request of New York Orthodox activist David Nyer, the activist said in a news release sent to JTA.
Moishe Bane, president of the Orthodox Union, said in a statement that “violence by one Jew against another, whether physical or otherwise, is an assault on the Torah values that have been passed down through our mesorah (tradition), from generation to generation. Any such attack by Jews against soldiers of the IDF, to whom every Jew owes immeasurable respect and gratitude, is an attack against each and every member of the Jewish community, and provokes shame and regret in us all.”
RCA executive vice president, Rabbi Mark Dratch, said: “These attacks against both Israeli soldiers and police are violations of Jewish law and show a gross lack of appreciation and respect for those who defend all the citizens of the State of Israel. These attacks further divide and alienate segments of the Jewish community from each other and from Torah.”
A religious IDF soldier and his family in the haredi Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood were pelted with stones and had to be evacuated by police, in an incident that occurred last week. In February, an Orthodox soldier was attacked after stopping to pray at a synagogue in a Jerusalem neighborhood. In January, an IDF soldier was taken to the hospital after being hit with stones while driving through the haredi Orthodox-dominated Ramat Beit Shemesh.
Rabbi Avi Shafran, spokesman for the Agudath Israel of America, told Nyer that “such unwarranted violence and abuse against any fellow Jew is beyond outrageous. Assault of Jewish brethren, especially those who have dedicated themselves to the protection of Klal Yisrael in Eretz Yisroel such as IDF soldiers and Israeli police, is indefensible, ugly and wrong.”
He added that bystanders are obligated to intervene to help the person under attack.