Israeli Police Hunt Down “Criminals” in Meah Shearim


Twenty minutes past five. The intense black of night has already given way to shades of blue-green on the distant horizon, but the streets are dark and still. From the tall windows of the small synagogue in the center of the courtyard, soft voices intoning the liturgy of the morning prayers waft out into the clear, cool air. The occasional hurrying footstep, along with chirping of winged creatures, are the only other sounds to break the silence.

Somewhere not too far away, the screech of rubber on the asphalt breaks rudely into this tranquil scene. A window flies open, a scarved head peers fearfully out into the dim light. From her vantage point, the old lady has a perfect view of one of the gateways leading into the courtyard and now, to her horror, she realizes that the narrow path is blocked by two armed, helmeted officers. Sickened and trembling, she retreats from the window and sits down on her bed to pray.

The scene – Warsaw in 1940? Budapest in 1944? Perhaps a shtetl in Galicia sometime during the Second World War?

No. This is Meah Shearim in 2017. August 16th, 2017 to be precise.

Meanwhile, around thirty riot police, armed with batons and tear gas, uniformed in combat gear complete with helmets, have fanned out across the tiny neighborhood, sealing the area known as “Shuk Meah Shearim” – the walled maze of streets located just off the main road. At each of the five gates that lead into the shuk, a pair of policemen stand, not allowing anyone to either enter or leave. They have a list of four targets for this early morning raid, and first and foremost is Reb Dovid Kroiz, infamous in police and government circles for his staunch anti-Zionist views. Reb Dovid – a young man, not even married yet – also heads Vaad Hatzalah which supplies free advice and legal assistance to any religious Jew caught up in the Zionist net of forced enlistment. For this alone, many seek his head.

This morning, however, Reb Dovid is not at home. He is, in fact, rarely at home, knowing as he does that he is liable to be arrested at any time. No matter – the police next raid his grandmother’s home, hoping to find him there. They enter through a window – but he is nowhere to be found. Giving up on Reb Dovid, they head to the next person on their list, where again they come up empty-handed. Reb Leibel Deutsch had already left shul to daven vasikin, and in any case, had he known that the police were coming for him, he would certainly have fled. After all, barely a week has passed since his last encounter with law enforcement, when, prostrate on the ground outside the offices of Vaad Hatzalah, he was stomped on by two policeman with satisfied grins on their faces.

Next on the list: Reb Yossel Blau. Finally something to show for their efforts, and Reb Yossel is led, handcuffed, to the waiting squad car. By now the neighborhood has been alerted, and a furious crowd has gathered, despite the early hour. Some arrive clad in tallis and tefillin. But a cordon of riot police prevents them from approaching the police cars and impeding the arrest.

From there, the operation heads to the nearby Beis Yisrael neighborhood, in search of another “criminal,” Reb Yankel Davidovitch. By the time the first protester reaches the scene, the police have already entered the apartment – but not the apartment of Reb Yankel himself. For some reason best known to them, the police chose to hunt him down at the home of his elderly widowed mother. He isn’t home – but the police find themselves an alternative scapegoat. As he enters the stairwell crying out “Nazis!” Reb Avraham Brandwein runs straight into the waiting arms of the police. A few minutes later he is led out of the building in handcuffs, his jacket torn, showing evidence of the beating he has just endured. Evidence of wrong-doing? They’ll find that later.

It’s still before seven in the morning. Another long summer’s day has begun. Just another day in Meah Shearim.


By Y Rabinovitz


Postscript: By the afternoon, both men have been released for lack of evidence.



    • Who are you to judge holy Jews without evidence? For your information 99% of the time they’re released within 24 hours because they’re innocent.

      • And how can you judge them to be holy. Because they are wearing “haredi” garement? A shande that people think that somebody is holy because he/she lives in a haredi area och has a laibsedekel!

        • Exactly Dos iz. As they said in lita. Frum is deh galach. Ehrlech is deh Yid! Its easy to look frum. It’s harder to fake being honest!

        • These are people who have committed themselves to helping bochurim from falling prey to the zionist trap of the IDF. Bochurim have questions about what paperwork they have to show at the lishkat hagiyus, this organization Merkaz Hatzalah offers advice and guidance to bochurim going to register for their defferal. The fact that they save a lot of bochurim by guiding them through the bureaucratic nightmare called the lishkat hagiyus doesn’t make them criminals. As is evident by their release only hours later. Stop judging your fellow Jew.

  1. Thank you for bringing this terrible situation to light. What the wicked police are doing in the Holy City, is inexcusable. The Yerushalmies are treated worse than dirt.
    Here you have a small “Jewish” nation surrounded by millions upon millions of Arabs which wish to destroy her at any second, and this is what the Government is concerned about??? This is how the Nation will feel secure? Harassing a few Chareadim? Rooting out those evil Yerushalmies who are planning to overthrow the government? They are even worse than Meir Ettinger.
    The corrupt Israeli government can’t fall quick enough. Yes, and that includes those phony charedie knesset members who won’t leave till their dying day. All of them! Israel has thee most corrupt government in the Middle East. Even Syria is better.

      • The Zionists want to take our children into their filth and shmutz IDF and make them drink, smoke and interact with females removed from Torah and tefilla, the Zionists days are numbered and their population is falling we with Torah are growing.

    • Thank you for being a voice of reason. Everything you said couldn’t be said better.
      A guy who lives in eretz yisrael, you want to elaborate?

      • Going to yeshiva while living in a bubble shouldn’t be considered “living in israel” compared to somebody who actual lives every day life in israel!

  2. These Anshei Hayishuv Hayashan were in Israel before the Zionists even dreamed to go to Uganda or Palenstine and vellen zei iberleben. They’ll remain in Israel while the Zionists will continue descending to California or walking on Rechov Shenkin with their dogs.

    • What an ignorant comment? So chareidim who came after 1945 were there first? Not all charedim
      Are decendend from people who came 200 years ago.You think Zionists don’t decend from people who came in the religious aliyah 200 years ago? You would be surprised how many famous Zionists decend from famous livishe rabbonishe families!

  3. These people don’t belong in EY. They should be deported to a friendlier nation that suits there lifestyle. I know from hashim how much pain they are causing. Haters and wasters. Deportation now.

    • Excuse me Mr. Commish, but Meah Shearim was established way before the Zionists. It is these later day Zionists that should be deported.

      • you would rather be ruled by arabs? you think the arabs would alot such freedom as the zionist government? visiting Kevorim? (kever rachal meares hamechpelah). the Kosel? tell me how many Zionists descend from the old yishuv? and how many Chariedim descend from people who immigrated around the times of the Zionist aliyah and also around post ww2? this false narrative of saying the charedim were their first doesn’t make any sense in this issue. how many famous Zionists come from religious families?

  4. ive been to israel multiple times vever been asked one question by the police
    if you play with fire
    be prepared for the consequences
    and if you cant abide by the law of the land and act like a human being
    move to russia

    • If you read the end of the article you would see that they were released later that day over a lack of evidence of wrongdoing. These people would advise bochurim who go to register with the army. Nothing illegal there. Also, visiting Israel as an American tourist will get you different treatment than for an Israeli citizen. That should’ve been clear.

  5. The comment above is not my comment. Someone used my name “The Commish” to write their stoopid comment.

    My comment is: “Zionism is diametrically opposed to Judaism”. These Zionist storm-troopers should be looking for arab terrorists not for Jews who help other Jews.

  6. It’s about time to stop blaming the Zionist for all the problems of not being able to practice Yiddishkeit and learning
    Torah in Eretz Yisroel.
    How about we start blaming Shabtai Zvi or the Tzedokim.
    Or maybe we should blame the ones who stop the buses and traffic which prevents me from getting to Kollel on time.

    • Oh, you poor poor guy… How dreadful that you were held up on your way to kollel.
      Meanwhile, yet another yeshivah bachur was arrested today at the draft office, when he went there to try and arrange his draft deferral. There are now over 50 yeshivah bachurim sitting in prison for various bureaucratic reasons, who were similarly arrested because something went wrong with their deferral process. These are not “just shababnikim” (who don’t deserve to be thrown into the idf cesspool either). They are for the most part regular bachurim who wanted to be sitting shokelling over a Gemara, just as you are fortunate enough to be able to do – otherwise they would have enlisted in order to get out of jail.
      So, if it was YOU in prison instead (like the young married man who was arrested last week – his court case is set for this wednesday, and it is rumored that the prosecution is pushing for a 6-month sentence for “draft dodging”) – then i’m sure you wouldn’t want anyone demonstrating on your behalf, would you? You’d much prefer everyone got on with their lives as if nothing had happened.

  7. This is ridiculous.Arabs are trying to murder us every day, the left is trying to DESTROY Eretz Yisrael and turn it over to the Arabs and destroy Torah while they’re at it ,and the police have nothing better to do than harass and provoke Jews in Meah Shearim.Who is giving them their orders?Why aren’t frum legal organizations looking into these continued illegal provocations????

  8. I used to live in Geula, right next to Meah Shearim and I worked in a store there too, so I had a lot of daily dealings with all sorts of people in that area. I was always so impressed by my neighbors and by so many of the people there.

    The Meah Shearim women I met were such decent people with a lot of ahavas Yisrael.

    At that point in my life, I must have been very modern-looking to them, but I was always treated with decency and warmth, especially by my Gerer chassidish employers.

    Finally, a lot of people are attracted to work in the Israeli police for the wrong reasons. There are some decent cops, but a lot of rotten apples too, and even the decent ones aren’t necessarily the brightest bulb on the block. It depends.


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