A parody of the popular Grand Theft Auto (GTA) video game in which a haredi Jew beats up passersby for "violating the Sabbath" is drawing ire, amid claims it amounts to incitement and even anti-Semitism.
In the clip, which has been circulating online for several days, the black-garbed "haredi" attacks random people while shouting "Shame in you! It's Shabbat today!" repeatedly.
The audio is apparently taken from a haredi demonstration outside the "Big" shopping mall in the Israeli city of Ashdod – which remains open on Shabbat in violation of halakha (Jewish law), to the anger of local haredi residents – during which one haredi activist was recorded shouting "It's Shabbat today!" over and over.
But while some see the video as a lighthearted parody, others say it blatantly incites against haredi Jews, portraying them as violent despite the fact that such protests are usually attended only by a small handful of extremists, and tend to be largely peaceful.
MK Merav Ben-Ari of the Kulanu party – who is not haredi herself – condemned the film.
"We are talking about an incitement video," she said. "A video game in which a haredi hits people in the street and shouts at them that it is Shabbat today – that's not a joke."
"This is incitement for all intents and purposes, and incitement is terrible on all levels and (against) all sectors, and it is upon us as elected public officials to eradicate it," she added.
"In these days when we experience on a daily basis incitement against one sector or another, this is the time for us to stop and prevent such phenomena, so as not to allow such things to take us to undesirable places."