Israel – Despite a recent wave of violence that has swept through Israel in recent days, officials in Jerusalem have requested that no Chareidi soldiers be stationed in the city’s ultra Orthodox neighborhoods because those troops pose a spiritual threat to the level of holiness in those areas.
“In the framework of freedom of expression, every Chareidi Jew is entitled and obligated to voice his opposition to rule breakers such as these who hope to diminish the pure atmosphere of our neighborhoods,” said Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Chaim Epstein.
Israel’s Ynet reported that Epstein charged the IDF with taking advantage of the current situation and using it to insert subversive sources into Jerusalem’s Chareidi neighborhoods in order to undermine the religious standards in areas such as Meah Shearim and Geula. Epstein further warned that sending Chareidi troops into those areas could encourage residents to bully those enlisted to protect them, requiring an even greater number of soldiers to be deployed to those neighborhoods.
The recent rash of Palestinian violence against Israelis has reignited conflicts between the IDF and members of Israel’s Chareidi community who oppose the draft and military service. While a group of Geula merchants requested extra security in recent days and called for a temporary halt to tensions between residents and soldiers, extremists have warned that Chareidi soldiers will not be welcome in their neighborhoods and will be met with protest and disruptions.
The decision to send Chareidi soldiers into ultra Orthodox neighborhoods is a recipe for trouble, according to Epstein.
“What is the rationale for creating problems during difficult times like these?” questioned Epstein. “Are these same soldiers being provocatively posted here just so that in a short time more soldiers will be needed in order to calm tensions here?”
Members of both Shas and Yahadut Hatorah opposed Epstein’s statements calling them “delusional” and “full of chutzpah,” saying it was inappropriate to put internal conflicts ahead of matters of security.