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October 18, 2011

Haredi Zealots Attack Bookstore – Again

Or HaChaim Bookstore broken window looking out from the insideThe store is haredi-owned and stocks only religious books, but they include volumes published by Orthodox institutions that are Zionist -- anathema to the Sikrikim, who believe a Jewish state can be established only with the coming of the Messiah. Zealots are also upset that tourists come to the bookstore dressed in modern clothes, rather than than the 19th century dress worn by neighborhood haredim.

Or HaChaim Bookstore broken window looking out from the inside
File Photo: Ohr HaChaim boostore looking out through shattered front window

Religious zealots attack "immodest" Jerusalem shops
By Maayan Lubell

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A sign at the ice cream parlour may caution men and women not to lick cones in public, but the warning didn't stop Jewish zealots vandalising the shop in Jerusalem's main ultra-Orthodox neighborhood.

Other businesses in Mea Shearim, including a book store and dress shops, have been damaged in night-time attacks by Sikrikim, a group of some 100 ultra-religious men who want one of the holy city's most tradition-bound quarters to become even more conservative.

"Promiscuity" reads graffiti scrawled in black at the entrance of a clothing shop selling dresses whose lengthy hemline and drab colors have been deemed too racy by the group.

Other stores in the neighborhood, where men wear traditional black garb and women bare little but their face, have had their windows broken, locks glued and foul-smelling liquid smeared on walls.

"They also threw once a bag of excrement inside and smashed our windows three times," said Marlene Samuels, manager of the Or Hachaim bookshop, whose bright lights and large storefront sign stand out among smaller and more dimly lit businesses.

The shop has been attacked more than 10 times since it opened a year and a half ago, Samuels said. The latest assault was last week when one of the store's branches had its locks glued overnight.

Samuels said the shop's owner met with the Sikrikim several times. The store stocks only religious books, but they include volumes published by Orthodox institutions that are Zionist -- anathema to the Sikrikim, who believe a Jewish state can be established only with the coming of the Messiah.

ANCIENT RESISTANCE

Named after a small Jewish group which 2,000 years ago fought against Roman rulers and suspected Jewish collaborators [sic – what they actually did was murder any Jew they could who didn't agree with them], the modern-day Sikrikim strike at night and some wear masks to hide their identities.

"They use aggressive tactics and they also ask for protection money which involves paying (a religious inspector) coming in and removing the books he deems unfit," Samuels said.

Meir Margalit, a Jerusalem councilman from the secular Israeli Meretz party, voiced concern that the existence of the Sikrikim, although a tiny minority, signified a growing divide among Jews in Israel.

"Society is becoming increasingly extremist. With the Sikrikim particularly, who are religiously motivated and rule out any position but their own, one cannot reckon, only fight them," Margalit said.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up about 8 percent of Israel's 7.7 million population. With an average of eight children per family, they are a fast-growing population. Many live below the poverty line and keep to dozens of their own towns and neighborhoods.

Mea Shearim area is small, less than half a square mile (1.3 square km), and home to about 30,000 residents considered among the most tight-knit and reclusive of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jews.

It takes about a minute to walk from Jerusalem's city center to Mea Shearim, but the dozens of synagogues and Hassidic courts dotting its narrow alleyways are a world away from the cafes and bars of downtown Jerusalem.

Sikrikim attacks have also been reported at Beit Shemesh, a mixed secular and religious town with a growing ultra-Orthodox community, about half an hour's drive from Jerusalem. The latest target there has been a religious girls' school.

The Sikrikim who reside near the school object to the way the girls dress. Since the school year began in September they have regularly picketed outside shouting out at the students, most of them younger than 12, that they are promiscuous.

"They claim to be religious but what they do is a crime against God, against the Torah and against humanity," said David Rotenberg, who works at Or Hachaim.

"SACRILEGE"

Up the road, the Zisalek ice cream parlour has separate entrances for men and women and a sign -- posted at the request of local religious authorities -- asking them to avoid any show of immodesty by licking cones in public.

"They (the Sikrikim) had a real ball with us," said Guy Ammar, one of Zisalek's owners, describing vandalism similar to attacks against other shops in the area.

"But we were not deterred. Residents here told us not to give up and business is going well now."

Sikrikim shun the media and have made no public comment about their activities.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said an investigation was under way following two complaints lodged by Or Hachaim Center but no suspects have yet been arrested.

Some business owners in Mea Shearim said police has been slow to act, reluctant to get involved in what they see as internal disputes among different religious sects of a closed community.

Rosenfeld said that no other businesses have filed formal complaints in recent weeks.

A few minutes walk from Zisalek Ice Cream is the Greentech music shop, where Hassidic music plays in the background and one DVD in a collection of ultra-Orthodox movies is a suspense film about the battles of a rabbi against Christian missionaries.

The Sikrikim "do not like anything that changes the character of the shtetl and the way it was a hundred years ago," a worker in the music store said, using a Yiddish term for the small towns where Eastern European Jews lived before the Holocaust.

Shlomo Kuk, an ultra-Orthodox journalist from Jerusalem, said the Sikrikim shouldn't be seen as representative of devout Jews known as "haredim."

"One thing is certain: they may dress like haredim but what they do is utter sacrilege which blackens the name of the entire haredi community," Kuk said.

[Hat Tip: Joel Katz.]

Comments

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The shop has been attacked more than 10 times since it opened a year and a half ago

... and still no gate. I am not condoning what the wackos are doing, but from a business point of view - give me a break. If I had a business in Brownsville which was broken into a half a dozen times I would not keep on saying "where are the police?" I would take the initiative and buy a gate to protect my property!

The police need to act and stop this madness!

... and still no gate. I am not condoning what the wackos are doing, but from a business point of view - give me a break. If I had a business in Brownsville which was broken into a half a dozen times I would not keep on saying "where are the police?" I would take the initiative and buy a gate to protect my property!

Posted by: p | October 18, 2011 at 10:30 AM

The store's owners installed security cameras and grates.

If you re-read the article, you'll notice that grates would not have stopped some of the vandalism.

And if you've paid attention to the previous posts on this, you'd know police have security camera footage of the attackers but did nothing to stop them until the Jerusalem Post and others publicized that.

The store even has a security guard now.

The problem is not the store's owners.

The problem is the Sikrikim and the police.

If I owned the shop where these bastards threw a bag of excrement, you had better believe that I would sit on the bastard and make him eat the entire bag.

Where the fuck are the police? Scared of these assholes. Time to fucking wake up and let these jackals know that they cannot ride heard on law-abiding citizens, just because they disagree with what is in the shop, or who is allowed to transact business in that shop. Wherever this be, in Jerusalem, or New York: the business owner decides! If patrons disagree with the business practices, they are free NOT to shop there. There is going to be a revolution in Israel. These bastards will get their heads handed to them.

The police do nothing because they fear what would happen if they did something, just like in Beit Shemesh.
If they ignore the situation, well normal people wring their hands and move on. If they try to deal with the so-called Sikrikin (interesting name to choose since the Talmud describes them as villians) they will have to face thousands of violent rioters.

The store's owners installed security cameras and grates

I see mention of the store having shutters or grates. I do see mention of windows being broken by nighttime attacks which would have been impossible if the windows and storefront were shuttered.

should read

I see no mention ...

I'm amazed that this is kind of stuff is tolerated.

I see [no] mention of the store having shutters or grates. I do see mention of windows being broken by nighttime attacks which would have been impossible if the windows and storefront were shuttered.

Posted by: p | October 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Where do you think shutters big enough to cover display windows would go during the day when the store is open?

Do you think they would magically retract into the stone?

There are things you know little to nothing about.

Perhaps you should consider that before you comment on them.

what should we expect from uncivilized ignorant backward fools they are still in the primitive stage .

How long will it take before security guards are armed? First Sikrikin scalp will be hanging on someone's belt within the year.

If they"sikrikim" are " haradim" then I will make sure not to walk between 2 of them, just as I don't walk between 2 unclean animals.

Their violence I can assure has the approval of the vast majority of the 'chardairium'

The ISraelis tolerate them bec. it's usually confined to their own cesspools of neighborhoods and more importantly
Israel is a country desparately needs population
so they have to accept these monsters as their partners, so long as the rest of diaspora jewry including at least a million Israelis who have left the country permanently.

I wonder why Moshiach isn't in the Holy City yet ?

"I wonder why Moshiach isn't in the Holy City yet ?"

He got sidetracked in Afula, looking for that famed falafel served on an ashtanur. He should be headed to Jerusalem next, if he doesn't end up at the beach in Kfar Shmaryahoo.

p, if Cossacks and Storm Troopers beat up Jews it's only because the Jews didn't take the proper precautions. Blame the victim, fucking much?

These idiots are different from the Taliban or the more extreme Saudis in what way? Because they're circumcised? A goon is a goon no matter whether ostensibly Jewish or not. In my remote Brooklyn boyhood days these people were a curiosity. Now they're a threat.

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