As part of the campaign against IDF enlistment led by followers of extremist hareidi leader Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, residents of the Shlomo neighborhood in the northern coastal city of Hadera on Wednesday morning were shocked to find leaflets inciting against religious soldiers in their mailboxes.
The picture dehumanized haredi IDF soldiers, portraying them as non-kosher pigs in uniform with a black kippah and peot (traditional sidelocks) as well as a copy of the Babylonian Talmud in hand, and in doing so mocked the attempt to combine religious studies with the obligation to defend the Jewish state.
On the picture was written: "I was swept away on a life of idleness, I was on the iron bars in the neighborhood, I drowned in the putrid scum, they sent me to confused yeshiva students to dry up their souls, I trick them with slogans from the Gemara (Jewish legal text), but in actuality I'm something completely different; what am I?"
The answer to the offensive "riddle" was listed as "the hardak (abbreviation for 'irresponsible haredi') from the enlistment office."
The leaflets are in fact a copy of posters which appeared in some haredi neighborhoods last year, just days after the end of Operation Protective Edge, provoking outrage. Tellingly, a Twitter account linked to the Hamas terrorist group – which is committed to Israel's destruction – gleefully retweeted the poster soon after.
The neighborhood was enraged by the inciting fliers, and suspicions arose that they were the work of an adjacent haredi yeshiva; however, the yeshiva's dean denied any connection to the campaign and went on to condemn it.
"I happened to see this illogical poster," he said.
"Our yeshiva students have no connection to it, nor to the protest that was held in Hadera over enlistment," he added, but blamed attempts by the government to end the IDF exemption for haredi yeshiva students for the incitement.
"In any case I'm sorry that Yair Lapid succeeded in bringing such an escalation between secular Jews and haredim. If there was communication and respect up till now, at present there is escalation and extremism."
It has been noted that the wider haredi public has openly opposed the campaign of Rabbi Auerbach's followers to delegitimize haredi soldiers and protest enlistment.
Just this week the topic of haredi enlistment has reached a further peak in tensions, with mass protests and arrests in various locations of Israel after four haredim were arrested for refusing enlistment orders.