Though the Haredim emphasize that their violence comes in response to “provocation” from the outside, the logic of their violence is rarely reactive. Their aggressive activities have their own rhythm reflecting their communal and religious needs.
The violent episodes are of a cultic nature. Their aim is not only to emphasize the group’s borders, but also to close ranks, to reconfirm their religious tenets, to recharge with new energy their study and faith, and, of course, to provide an outlet for tensions accumulating in the Torah world. Some of the offensive activities of the Haredim are intended to serve competition for leadership, political power struggles and economic interests between rival sub-groups.
Yet, in some way, this violence resembles also a tribal dance serving as catharsis for believers. The outside-oriented Haredi violence functions as magic helping them cope with frustrations, and as a promise of redemption, like the Native Americans’ Ghost Dance or similar cults that have bodily and aggressive dimensions.
Taken from “Body, Violence and Fundamentalism: The Case of Jewish Ultra-Orthodoxy” By Gideon Aran.