Reform Group Criticizes Police in Wake of Anonymous Threats

An Israel-based group of the the Reform movement is criticizing the Jerusalem police for failing to find those responsible for making telephone threats to the movement’s office.

The Israel Religious Action Center, an agency of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, filed the complaints after coming under a barrage of anonymous hate calls during the past three months.

Police officials said they had traced some of the calls to telephones located near the Chasidic yeshivas of Gur and Slonim in fervently Orthodox areas of Jerusalem.

The office’s complaint comes amid increased tensions between fervently Orthodox groups and more liberal streams of Judaism that emerged after Orthodox parties won 23 seats in the Knesset and a strong role in the governing coalition.

Tapes of the threatening calls were played Wednesday on Army Radio.

“We will bomb you, destroy your offices. Your fate will be that of [Yitzhak] Rabin,” said one caller, referring to the assassinated Israeli leader.

Knesset member Meir Porush, leader of the fervently Orthodox Agudat Yisrael Party, deplored the calls but said he was sure they had not been made by yeshiva students.

Anat Galili, the spokesperson for the center, was critical of the police for not arresting anyone even though the first complaint was filed more than three months ago.

She noted that a caller making telephone threats to Aharon Barak, chief justice of the Supreme Court, had been arrested after just one day.

Barak received the threats a month ago, after the court issued a ruling that kept a major Jerusalem thoroughfare open on the Sabbath and religious holidays. Fervently Orthodox groups have held a series of often violent demonstrations aimed at closing the street at those times.

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