A haredi gang – nicknamed the sicarii after the offshoot of the zealots who ruled Jerusalem at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple and who specialized in assassinations of all who opposed them – has been terrorizing residents in Mea Shearim and the surrounding haredi neighborhoods for being too “zionist” and for cooperation with the Zionist state. They have stoned the home of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and threatened the life of Rabbi Ahron Leib Shteinman. The have beaten opponents in broad daylight, causing hospitalizations. The police know who they are. Why are they still out of jail? Ynet reports:
… Jerusalem police officials recently spoke with former Eda Hareidit official Yehuda Meshi-Zahav to discuss ways of dealing with the problem.
“I told the police that it isn’t possible that a group of 20-30 troublemakers could terrorize Jerusalem in general and Mea She’arim in particular, and use violent means, extortion, and threats,” says Meshi-Zahav. He mainly blames the police for “being afraid of them, for failing to act, and for capitulating to them every time.”
Meshi-Zahav’s is critical not only of the police, but also of the haredi public: “On the one hand there is a whole, established leadership, and on the other hand everyone fears a group of informers and doesn’t do a thing. Everyone knows who they are, and the whole public and the police must not ignore this, and must fight them with all their strength.
“When we have a situation where they attack someone in broad daylight and land him in the hospital and everyone is afraid to get involved, it’s reminiscent of the dark days in New York…
A Jerusalem police spokesman says that “the gang is known to the police. Its members have been arrested on numerous occasions for attacking the owner of a printing business as well as several haredim in Mea She’arim. Most of the files have been given to the prosecutor for the purpose of submitting an indictment. The police are continuously monitoring the gang and will use all legal means to prevent them from continuing their activities.”
In a culture of xenophobia, rejectionism and violence, it is only a matter of time before that violence turns inward.