Gideon Aran: The youths Haredi inciters and leaders

Conspicuous among inciters and leaders in violent confrontations on the Haredi front are youths, many of them yeshiva drop-outs, who gradually achieve the status of professional strongmen.

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran

Many Haredim boast of their heroic feats, while at the same time slander them. Their violent activity blurs the distinction between ideological delinquency and thuggery for its own sake. Haredi violence is carried out with great enthusiasm. The protesting, sabotaging and scuffling Haredim appear to be ecstatic. Though at times resulting in bodily and property damages, the activity is essentially symbolic.

A popular mode of operation among the Haredim is setting fire to municipal thrash cans, an act, which – though relatively harmless – produces much smoke. The stress is not on concrete gains but on the very confrontation. Success is assessed less in terms of promotion of actual communal interests than in the extent of the spectacular and heroic act.

The higher the number of those sent to custody or to hospital during an action, the more successful is the operation judged to be. The highest merit a protesting Haredi can earn is by being humiliated and abused by the police, who pull at his beard and torture him to the point of making him cry.

Taken from “Body, Violence and Fundamentalism: The Case of Jewish Ultra-Orthodoxy” By Prof. Gideon Aran.

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