Ultra-Orthodox revelers set fire to an effigy of an Israeli soldier Saturday night in the ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea She’arim, to cheers and claps from the audience.
A video of the display broadcast in Hebrew-language media showed a man holding a life-sized puppet-like model of a soldier over a bonfire with a long stick.
The model was was dressed in an army shirt emblazoned with the name of the Sayaret Matkal elite commando unit on the back. A beard had been drawn on the face of the model in an apparent attempt to make it look like an ultra-Orthodox soldier.
The crowd, including a number of children, cheered as the effigy caught alight.
The incident took place as part of celebrations for Lag B’Omer, the traditional date of the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, a first-century sage, which is marked with celebrations and bonfires.
The incident is the latest incident in which ultra-Orthodox Jews have attacked members of the community who join the Israeli military. The ultra-Orthodox have also held dozens of demonstrations to protest mandatory enlistment of religious Jews, following years in which they were allowed to avoid conscription.
A religious IDF soldier was attacked last month by a mob of ultra-Orthodox Jews during a rally in support of two draft dodgers from their community who, at the end of a short furlough, were driven back to military prison in a white stretch limousine.
Dozens of protesters threw debris and shouted curses at the soldier, who was wearing a yarmulke, as hundreds chased him along a street at the Bar Ilan junction in Jerusalem. A cellphone video of the attack showed the soldier as he was hounded by dozens of noisy demonstrators.
ושוב זה קורה. חייל דתי מותקף מילולית בקללות ונאצות לאחר תהלוכת האסירים העריקים. (קרדיט אלעזר דיווחים בזמן אמת) pic.twitter.com/0V3L4eUspr
— ישראל כהן (@Israelcohen911) April 11, 2017
The soldier escaped unhurt from the incident.
The arrest and imprisonment of ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers has raised tensions in the community and a recent series of large demonstrations against the induction of ultra-Orthodox people into the army saw violent clashes between demonstrators and police.
Some segments of ultra-Orthodox society refuse to recognize the State of Israel and oppose Zionism, because of their belief that the establishment of a Jewish state should only come after the arrival of the Jewish Messiah. Many ultra-Orthodox Jews do not serve in the Israeli army and run their own educational system, but receive a variety of grants from the government.
Mea She’arim is home to members of the anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta who routinely torch Israeli flags during the holiday. It is not clear from the video which ultra-Orthodox sect participated in the burning.