A campaign by haredi extremists against haredi enlistment into the IDF – which peaked last year with an unprecedented campaign of incitement – may have lowered its profile somewhat, but that isn't stopping the extremists from attempting to intimidate religious soldiers.
In the latest incident, extremists attacked the home of a haredi IDF soldier in the city of Beit Shemesh Tuesday, smearing feces on his front door and hanging a sign saying "Hardakim out!", using a derogatory term coined by anti-Zionist extremists to describe haredim who enlist (the word is an acronym for haredim kalei da'at – weak-minded haredim, which also bears a similarity to the Hebrew word for a bacteria, haydakim.)
According to the haredi Kol Beramah radio station, the soldier who was targeted belongs to a hassidic sect known for anti-Zionist extremism. Despite that, however he enlisted into the army and now serves in IDF intelligence.
Like many other haredi soldiers who fear reprisals from extremists within their own community, he received permission to travel home from his base in central Israel in civilian clothing – unlike other soldiers who must leave base in military uniform – so as not to be identified as a target for harassment or attack.
Despite his precautions, however, his role in the IDF was uncovered by someone within his community, and extremists have been targeting him in an attempt to force him to leave Beit Shemesh, which is home to a large and growing haredi community.
The soldier has lodged a complaint with the police, and a criminal investigation has been opened.
It is the latest in a spate of similar incidents of violence and intimidation against religious IDF soldiers by haredi extremists.
In April, a religious IDF officer was attacked in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood by haredi extremists who pelted his car with rocks.
Last year, extremists launched a highly offensive poster campaign portraying haredi soldiers as pigs. The campaign was provocatively timed to follow Operation Protective Edge, in which dozens of IDF soldiers – including many religious troops – lost their lives fighting Islamist terrorists in Gaza. The Hamas terrorist organization gleefully used the cartoon in some of its own propaganda.
That campaign was launched again in April of this year, with offensive leaflets posted to the homes of residents in Hadera.
That attack drew condemnations from haredi politicians, but some have accused the haredi rabbinic leadership – whose words carry far more weight among the haredi population – of failing to curb incitement and attacks by extremist elements within the community.