Israel’s War Against Judaism

THE POLICE POGROM*
PAUL EIDELBERG

Remember how the police brutally violated the civil rights of hundreds of Jews, ­mostly religious, ­who peacefully protested against the expulsion of 8,000 Jews from Gush Katif? Did you know that this police brutality was instigated by the government and sanctified by Israel’s judiciary? Remember the government-ordained police brutality at Amona?

If this official violence prompted you to believe that Israel’s government is waging a war against Judaism, ponder the pogrom against the Hareidi community before and during the June 21 Gay Parade in Jerusalem. I base my report on accounts published in Yated Neeman on June 21 and summarized by a reliable American journalist. (Participating in the pogrom was the Yassam ­black-uniformed riot police apparently trained to intimidate by means of violence.)

Jerusalem police commander Ilan Franco ordered the police to unleash violence against the Hareidi community because of its opposition to the Gay Parade ­the “Abomination Parade” ­scheduled for June 21. What occurred during the preceding five days can only be termed a pogrom intended to intimidate Israel’s most prolific religious community, one that threatens the secular oligarchy that dominates supposedly democratic Israel.

Close to midnight, after the Shabbat of June 16, commander Franco appeared at the head of 700 police at the corner of Meah Shearim and Shivtei Yisroel streets. The pogrom began soon thereafter. One resident said this:

    “When there are demonstrations, most residents know it’s dangerous to go out in the street, and remain home. Nevertheless, the police, without warning, stormed Meah Shearim and fell on whoever they found and beat them up. I saw from my porch a Breslav Chassid going to the Mikveh [ritual immersion] before going to shul. I yelled out to him to stop, but before he figured out what I was saying, he was attacked on all sides and then arrested by the police. It was obvious to me that the police were out to terrorize the residents.

    “In the Batei Neiman neighborhood, the police knocked on all the doors and woke up all the residents. They knocked on the door of a well known scribe, a 60 year-old man. When he opened the door, they began clubbing him. When the head of a yeshiva living next door went out to see what all the noise and screaming was about, the police brutally fell on him.”

The screams woke up many residents. They came out on their porches to see what was happening. The police brought out their water cannons which they shot indiscriminately at homes throughout Meah Shearim. The volleys of blue and green water shattered windows, flooded homes, and caused heavy financial damage to many families. Children and the elderly living in these homes were terrified.”

    “Reb Yankel Weisberg, an elderly Jew in his 80s, a famous artist, was awakened in the middle of his sleep by a volley of water that shattered his windows and ruined dozens of his paintings.”

    “One family had just returned from celebrating their post-Shabbat get-together before the wedding of their son. Suddenly their windows were shattered and volleys of water sprayed the rooms of their home. The green water stained the wedding clothes of the bridegroom, destroyed seforim [religious books] in the home, and soaked all the mattresses. The house resembled the wreckage of pogrom.”

    “That night another family was up preparing for the wedding of a relative when they heard disturbances outside. Suddenly, a blast of blue water surged into their home, entering closets and drawers, ruining clothes and linens.

Rav Yona Perl relates what happened to his 14 year-old son, who was returning from a melava malka. “A dozen policemen burst into Meah Shearim Street and found the boy in their way. They beat him up and dragged him to Shivtei Yisroel Street where they pushed him into a police van that took him to the Russian Compound.”

Rav Perl was only notified where his son was in the middle of the night. After waiting hours in the Russian Compound, he was only able to gain his son’s release by signing an order to keep his son out of Jerusalem for the following week. “My son told me that from the moment he was under arrest, the police didn’t stop abusing him.” When he told them he was not in the demonstration, he was punched in the head.”

In several cases, police refused to let an ambulance vacate their injured victims.

Despite the police intimidation of the Hareidi community on Saturday night, the large-scale demonstration against the “Abomination Parade” was held on schedule on Bar Ilan and Shmuel Hanavi streets on Sunday and thousands took part.

During the demonstration, the chief rabbi of the Aida Hareidi rabbinical court, Rav Tuvya Weiss, announced it was the obligation of every religious Jew to protest the evil being perpetrated by the Abomination Parade, lest the sin be ascribed to him. Rav Sternbuch cited the Torah: “Blessed is the one who upholds the words of the Torah and cursed is the one who doesn’t uphold it.” The demonstrators thundered “Amen.” Then, while sitting on the floor with lit black candles, everyone recited lamentations, mourning the Gay Parade’s desecration of G-d’s Name.

During the demonstration, police attacked passive demonstrators on the side walk and sped their motorcycles into crowds.

The violence continued the following night. On Monday, close to 1:00 in the morning, Yassam policemen entered the building of a yeshiva in Geula. The police found a yeshiva student exiting the bathroom and beat him up.

In Bet Shemesh a demonstration was held in which hundreds participated. Rav Shmuel Pappenheim, the editor of Ha’Aida, recounts:

    “I and another 15 people remained in the Shaar HaRema shul, two streets away from the demonstration. Suddenly two private police cars parked in front of the shul, and 8 Yassam policemen leaped out. They ran madly up the stairs, giving murderous blows with their clubs in every direction. They kicked R’ Aaron Fishman all over his body. They left him with two of his teeth knocked out, blood flowing from his jaw. I took him to the emergency room in Bet Shemesh, but they rushed him to Hadassah Ein Kerem to be hospitalized and stitched up.”

Police pogroms took place every night that week. By the end of the week, every second apartment in the vicinity of Meah Shearim and Shivtei Yisroel streets had been damaged.

The number beaten and injured by the Yassam reached hundreds. Officially, 84 Hareidim had been arrested, of whom 40 were youths. Dozens of others were injured and had to be hospitalized. Most were innocent bystanders going about their business but were nonetheless set upon by the police. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky finally demanded that the police stop their violence against innocent residents.

At the Knesset during the week, religious politicians decried the police brutality.
Rav Moshe Gafni said to Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter: “This is not a State ruled by law. We’re living in a police state. They shoot water into the homes of people who have nothing to do with demonstrations.”

The police issued a statement claiming they had to enter Meah Shearim because of stone-throwing and burning garbage receptacles which blocked traffic on Malchei Israel Street. According to the police, their response was to stones, metal rods and cement blocks thrown at them from roofs and porches. That this statement is a pure fabrication is obvious when one considers that most of the police violence was directed at random homes past midnight, when only a few individuals were on the street and no one was demonstrating.

By imposing collective punishment on innocents­especially little children and elderly residents of Meah Shearim­the police wanted to intimidate the entire Hareidi community.

In the State of Israel, the police can do whatever they want to the Hareidi because they know the government and courts will back them as they did when the police brutalized those demonstrating against the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif. This is the “Gang of Law” mentioned by former Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin.

The police and the government would never use this kind of violence against Arabs because of their fawning attitude to the international community, which habitually supports the Arab side.

Here is my own final word: The police brutality against the Hareidim imperils all citizens of Israel, whether religious or not. It should also be understood that the word “democracy,” which is ever on the lips of Israel’s ruling elites, is very much a self-serving fraud, which endows the State of Israel with legitimacy and its ruling elites with respectability. But what the fraud of Israeli democracy conceals is the government’s war against Judaism.

So what should be done? The Hareidim in Israel and in the United States should expose the myth of Israeli democracy. For this purpose I am at their service.

July 3, 2007 | 4 Comments »

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