MK Yaakov Katz was interviewed by Kikar Shabbat on Monday, 3 Cheshvan, coinciding with the opening of the Knesset winter season. He was asked to comment on the sikrikim.
Katz sponsored a bill against the sikrikim, calling them “terrorists” and calling for ousting them from the community for the good of the residents. The bill was defeated despite gaining significant support, from chareidi lawmakers too, but it was opposed by Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich.
“Everyone agrees the sikrikim in Meah Shearim and Beit Shemesh in my eyes are not Shomrei Torah and Mitzvos. It is all an act. They are not chareidi, it’s an act.”
They people in the community are wonderful, including Toldos Aaron, Toldos Avraham Yitzchak, Karlin, Stolin, all of the, but this small violent group of criminals, tens of them, are simply terrorizing the community. Police are not in the community to stop them. They need to be regarded as a terror organization and treated accordingly.
Did Eli Yishai and Shas support the bill?
Eli Yishai was beaten when he entered Meah Shearim to visit Rav Elyashiv by these criminals. Rav Elyashiv was also victimized. The minister was the main obstacle to the bill. He thought I was taking it too far. They are criminals and we all know the rebbes and roshei yeshiva are afraid of them.
The minister asked me “how do you tell them apart?” as they ask when referring to the settlers (with a smile on his face). We have a problem. The minister simply ignores Meah Shearim. Bus service stops there as a result. It is a separate country. I can’t pass a law in Knesset if the ministerial committee does not support it.
Don’t worry; in a few more years we will run the state and these criminals who bother the day-to-day life of the tzaddikim and talmidei chachamim living in Meah Shearim will be thrown out of the country.
Can you comment on the recent beating of Avraham Hirschman.
I don’t know him. I do not know who he is but if his is one of these sikrikim, he deserves much more. If he really is one, then he should not be surprised for what he got. Please send my regards to all those tzaddikim in Meah Shearim.
In response to the interview given by Katz, Minister Eli Yishai indicated he thinks declaring sikrikim “terrorists” is a bit much and while something must be done, he feels the bill is taking it too far. Yishai emphasizes the problem must be addressed, explaining “there are way to deal with violence and crime and legislation is not the way… I am waiting to Israel to deal with real terror, the Arabs that strike out against us”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)