Two effigies of Israeli soldiers with a rope around their necks were hung in predominantly-Charedi areas of Jerusalem, in what Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said was a “shocking” criminal act.
Police officers on Friday removed the effigies, one of which was soaked in flammable fluid were, from a rooftop in Jerusalem’s Me’a She’arim neighborhood and from a rope dangling from a column on Chaim Ozer Street, the Israel Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The effigies had black kippahs on their heads, leading to speculations in the Israeli media that it was meant to intimidate Charedi soldiers who serve in the Israel Defence Forces.
Charedi Jews were allowed an automatic exemption from serving until a 2014 law decreed they sign up for the army or other frameworks by 2017. Despite violent protests to this by some Charedim, including assaults against Charedi conscripts, their numbers are rising, according to the IDF. Their number rose dramatically from just a few dozen in 1999 to 2,850 recruits in 2016, according to the news site NRG.
“The sight of an effigy of a soldier hanging from a noose in M’a She’arim is shocking,” Lieberman wrote on Twitter. As defence minister, my job is to afford security also to this kind of inciters. As a citizen, my duty is to fight them politically. The authorities’ duty is to put them behind bars. I expect the heads of the Charedi parties to condemn this act.”
Lieberman has clashed with Charedi politicians over his support for increasing conscription among Charedim. He dressed up as a Charedi soldier on Purim in what the Israelן media interpreted both as a jab to anger Charedi politicians and a sign of support and solidarity for Charedi soldiers facing pressure and intimidation in their communities.