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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Invasion of the (Haredi) Body Snatchers

Man, things are just getting crazier and crazier among Jerusalem's Haredim. Things have literally reached body snatching. No joke.

A lady in her 20s was found dead in an abandoned building in (where else?) Mea Shearim. That's when things went nutty

A police car was dispatched to the area as well, and an initial investigation revealed that the death was likely not the result of a criminal incident.

But the affair did not end there. Dozens of haredim arrived in the area and, according to the police, began assaulting the policemen, caused damage to their car, grabbed the body and escaped. Additional police forces were dispatched to the area to help locate the corpse.

Eventually, the body was recovered with the help of the ZAKA rescue unit under condition that no autopsy be performed (autopsies are, with limited exceptions, prhobited in traditional Judaism as desecrating the dead; for more on this see here or here (Chabad should be in line with everyone else on this, the Rebbe aside). ZAKA, of course, are the true tzaddiks who a few weeks ago were saving lives in Haiti.

Of course, ZAKA didn't come out of it unscathed; ZAKA Jerusalem leader Bentzi Oring was beaten on his way in to try to negotiate things out, a major chillul Hashem.

The paramedic who was present when the body was taken really does have a dystopian sci-fiesque story:

"[The policeman] said he was hit in the face, pushed down and that the corpse was snatched on a stretcher. I looked outside and saw a stretcher march of 30 haredim running with a covered body. They shouted, 'The daughters of Israel will not be deserted.'"

According to the paramedic, "It was a well planned operation."

The Haredi news site Behadrei Haredim has their version of the story and an update. What's worth noting is the clear attempt there to distance the broader Haredi community from the קנאים (zealots) who pulled this.

They also have pictures of the police and some of the protestors. One interesting thing is the presence of at least two dark-skinned police officers, presumably Ethiopian Jews since I think they are a bit too dark to be Yemenite (I could be wrong, though). Either way, I liked seeing that.

The lady of blessed memory whose corpse caused this whole thing apparently had head surgery several weeks ago, and on the advice of her father, took too many painkillers, resulting in her death.

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