Avigdor Lieberman has initiated a new government policy to punish those who threaten and harm Haredi IDF soldiers. Following reports of activity within the Haredi communities to “mark” Haredi soldiers and expose them in hopes of shaming them out of service, Lieberman met with the Israeli Internal Security Minister and the Israeli Justice Minister to design a policy that will protect the IDF’s Haredi soldiers.

Ultra-Orthodox IDF recruits are being shamed in their communities

Ultra-Orthodox IDF recruits are being shamed in their communities Photo Credit: Uri Lantz, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

Today (Thursday) Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke with the Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, to ask them to take action by opening an investigation into, as well as increase the severity of punishment against actors threatening Haredi soldiers. Channel 2 News reported last week of a new initiative within the Haredi sector to try and end Haredi recruitment into the IDF by shaming and “marking” young Haredi men who are considering joining the army.

Following the report, Lieberman asked Erdan to order the police to prioritize these cases, “To cast out and ostracize” those threatening soldiers. The Defense Minister asked Minister Shaked to instruct her staff to prepare legislative amendments in order to enforce a stricter policy of punishment against threatening actors.

Avigdor Lieberman says the government must protect the Haredi soldiers

Avigdor Lieberman says the government must protect the Haredi soldiers Photo Credit: Moshe Milner, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

“It is important that the message will reach all of the government authorities in the country – from government ministries responsible for such a matter to the courts and the Israeli police. There is  zero tolerance for this despicable phenomenon, harming those whose only sin is the desire and willingness to serve the IDF,” wrote Lieberman.

According to the report by Channel 2 News, the leaders of this “marking” initiative “set up an online database to collect the details and photographs of Haredi soldiers in order to deter their friends from joining the army.  “We call on the public to take a picture of every Haredi seen in uniform around the neighborhood,” read a statement distributed in the Haredi sector. “From now know all of the Haredim who join the army will know that sooner or later their picture will be publicized on this database and they will not be able to escape the public’s eye!”

One of the actors behind this initiative is a Haredi who lives abroad. While speaking to Channel 2 News Online he said that the database already contains hundreds of photos. Previously brochures with details of Haredi soldiers including names, photographs and home addresses were distributed. In some instances, this led to demonstrations outside the soldier’s homes in Haredi neighborhoods. In other cases exposed Haredi soldiers were physically assaulted by ultra-Orthodox extremists which required police intervention to rescue them from harm.