Media incitement against hareidi-religious Jews has led to a wave of hate crimes targeting the community, MK Yisrael Eichler of the hareidi-religious Yahadut Hatorah (UTJ) party charged earlier this week from the Knesset podium.
The wave of attacks has been ignored by the mainstream media, he charged.
Eichler began by addressing Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. “How do you, as a former journalist and the current Vice Prime Minister, see the burning of a girls’ school affiliated with the Bobov Chassidic movement as a ‘price tag’ operation against hareidi Jews?” he questioned.
“You probably have not heard of it, for the simple reason that the media is keeping it quiet,” he added.
Shalom responded that he indeed had not heard about the incident in question.
The arson attack was the tip of the iceberg, Eichler said. “Every day people spit at and curse hareidi Jews, particularly recently, and nobody is horrified by this.”
“But when somebody in Beit Shemesh spits on one girl, a party was built on that spit that got nineteen mandates, and another twelve religious mandates joined them to boycott hareidi Jews and starve their children,” he said, referring to the Yesh Atid party and its pact with the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party. MKs in the Yahadut Hatorah party say the two parties’ insistence on hareidi-religious army recruitment is a serious threat to the hareidi world.
Eichler stated that many hate crimes have gone unreported. While Jews are regularly arrested if they are accused of harming Arabs, nobody is arrested for attacks on hareidi Jews, he said, creating a situation in which many hareidi people do not file complaints over attacks because they feel that there is no benefit in doing so.
He asked what the government plans to do to avoid hate crimes in light of expected continuing anti-hareidi sentiment.