Israeli police were pelted with rocks with strictly Orthodox Jews across four cities in the early hours of Monday morning as they arrested 22 Charedi men suspected of sex crimes against women and children.
The men, who were being sheltered by their various religious communities, were arrested in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Betar Illit and Bnei Brak, as residents seeking to prevent the arrests turned on police, hurling projectiles at officers and smashing the windscreens of police vehicles.
The 22 arrested men are aged 20-60 year and in some cases were identified two years ago, but Israel’s tight-knit Orthodox communities have sheltered them from the law. Police say they believe Charedi leaders have also helped conceal their crimes.
According to reports in Israeli media, the police investigation revealed that the Charedi communities were dealing with the alleged sex crimes internally, with religious leaders ordering the perpetrators to get therapy within the community.
Six weeks ago, however, internal records of the leaders’ decisions and actions are believed to have been seized following the arrest of a member of the community’s so-called ‘modesty guards,’ a vigilante group charged with enforcing a moral code.
According to the Hebrew-language ultra-Orthodox website Behadrei Haredim, the arrested man’s notebooks listed the suspects and the dozens of alleged crimes they have committed.
פרשת עבירות המין שהושתקו בחברה החרדית: כך התנהלה ההסתרה, שהסתיימה בגל מעצרים pic.twitter.com/tULHeeVkEA
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) March 27, 2017