FURIOUS Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman promised to help put the perpetrators in jail after three effigies of religious soldiers were hung in the ultra-observant Mea Shearim area of Jerusalem.
He described the outrage of the dolls suspended from cables across a street as “a horrifying sight”.
The police pledged: “We will not allow any incident that denigrates those serving the country and we'll act adamantly and with every means at our disposal to locate those who have transgressed.”
One of the effigies was soaked in flammable liquid, suggesting that whoever hung it intended to set it on fire.
All three had black kippot on their heads, showing they were meant to intimidate charedi soldiers who serve in the Israel Defence Forces.
One of the effigies, bearing tzitzit, had a sign reading “hardak out”. Hardak is a derogatory term for religious men who serve in the army.
A sign warned ultra-Orthodox soldiers to keep away.
“Did you become weak? Did you fall into the army?” asked the sign. “Please do not come into our neighbourhood with your repulsive uniform!” it read.
Lieberman stormed: “My job as defence minister is to protect everyone, including the instigators of such acts. But my job as a citizen is to fight against them politically. The authorities’ job is to put them behind bars.”
He called on the leaders of the ultra-Orthodox parties in the Knesset to condemn the incident.
A group of residents of Mea Shearim claimed it was the act of a lone extremist.
“The residents of Mea She’arim are not against the IDF and are not against IDF soldiers,” they said. “Blaming us all for it is really false.”
A participant on a tour told the newspaper Maariv Hashavua: “We were on an organised tour as part of Purim celebrations in the area when suddenly we were amazed to see the shocking image of an IDF soldier wearing a costume uniform hanging from a power cord as if it was hanged.
“At first we thought it was a soldier and only after a minute we regained our senses and realised that it was an effigy and a shocking representation [of a soldier].
“We were all horrified and our guide said that it was routine in this neighbourhood.
“God help us if this is routine here.”
Knesset member Yair Lapid, of the Yesh Atid party, said: “The dolls dressed as IDF soldiers were hung as if they were the wicked Haman in the Purim story.
"The Israeli government cannot keep quiet in the face of the draft evasions and the incitement against IDF soldiers. The charedi leadership must condemn these trends publicly."