Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Nissan 5765 - May 4, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
When it is Permissible to Attack Religious Institutions

Three years ago at this time, Israeli forces were laying siege to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. A total of 123 armed Palestinian men were inside, having taken refuge there as Israeli troops swept through the city looking for them. 13 of them were known murderers. They were planners and executers of terror. The Moslem fugitives abused the Christian monks who controlled the building, and defaced the building itself. They shot from the church at Israeli troops and they were a threat to all those in the immediate area as well as a long-term threat to virtually everyone in Israel, and they all thoroughly deserved to be locked away.

In any other building, the troops would either have broken in to kill or capture the murderers, or perhaps have broken down the building itself. Since the building in question was a church, the Israeli security establishment knew that any violent entry into the building had to be ruled out categorically.

After a five-week siege, an agreement was reached and the worst murderers were exiled to Europe, while most of the rest were sent to Gaza.

It is the same thing with regard to mosques. Many Moslem religious leaders openly advocate terror. (The bomber of the number 2 bus in Jerusalem was a religious leader.) On several occasions Israeli troops found stores of arms in mosques and it is likely that there are a lot more that they have not found. But they cannot enter mosques under normal circumstances.

In all these cases the IDF knows that it has to act with restraint.

Despite the vast differences involved, police in Yerushalayim showed no such inhibitions when they dealt with a beis medrash. They broke in brutally to the Satmar beis medrash in Geulah, and beat people who offered them no resistance.

The police themselves at first denied that they did anything of the sort. But they could not deny the films that were made of the events.

Then they claimed that a policeman was threatened, and even the next day they said that one of the police was moderately wounded by one of the "rioters." However when MK Rabbi Meir Porush asked to go visit the wounded policeman, they had to admit that there was nothing of the sort.

There were reports of non-threatening violence such as burning garbage bins. Such acts are the work of irresponsible youths who are looking for action. Such acts are regularly condemned by all of the leadership of the chareidi community.

The truth is that the police need no provocation to act brutally. Whoever is demonstrating complains of their brutality, from left to right, and secular to religious. It is definitely not the case that if everyone complains the police must be doing something right. In this instance they are always in the wrong. The problem is that each sector complains in turn when it suffers, but no one follows through to do something to stop it.

There were no calls for any investigation. The top commanders said that such actions require approval and it was not sought or given in this case. It is likely that the truth will never be known, and that those responsible will not pay for their actions. We can only hope that they will not be rewarded.

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