The website Kikar Hashabbat, which has been consistently hostile to the new draft legislation, announced Saturday night that the loosely organized campaign against Charedim who dare enlist in the IDF is back: a group of yeshiva students riding a bus in Jerusalem ganged up on a Charedi soldier, calling him “Chardak” and saying: “You’re polluting the air.
The slur Hardak is an acronym for “Charedi Kal Da’at” – and kal da’at is translated as frivolous, flippant, fickle, lightminded, lightheaded, featherbrained, and flighty. A common insult to women in our sacred texts is that “Da’tan kalah” – they are intellectual lightweights, or that they are easily tempted and seduced.
So the slur is fairly cerebral, nothing about anyone’s mama or hygiene, but in the Haredi world where the brain is by far the most prized body part, it stings.
Also, the name “Chardak” sounds like the Hebrew word “Chaidak” – germ (hence the comments about air pollution).
The Chardakim campaign began this year, as a response to the “equal burden” drive of the Netanyahu government. It involves leaflets with written attacks alongside fairly nasty cartoons. One cartoon shows a Charedi soldier walking on all fours and being led by a rope, with the caption: “Like sheep to slaughter.” The campaign has also involved spray painting the warning “Dangerous, contagious Chardak lives here,” on buildings in B’nei B’rak and Jerusalem where enlisted Charedim reside.
The IDF has complained to the police about the campaign of harassment against its soldiers, but the police could not fins any actual calls for violence against the soldiers, and so says it does not have reason to arrest anyone.
One Satmar rabbi, Moshe Ze’ev Zarger, has decreed that Charedi soldiers in uniform must be chased out of synagogues, since wearing an IDF uniform is tantamount to wearing a cross medallion (Sarah Silverman – get into your olive drabs).
Over the month of Elul, when religious Jews try to restrain their baser impulses, there has been a lull in the Chardakim campaign – at least in the media. But it appears that as soon as the holidays have passed, it’s back to the war.
The Charedi soldier who was verbally attacked on the bus last night said: “It angers me that I and my friends risk our lives every day for the security of Israel’s citizens and that’s the treatment I’m getting when I come home for Shabbat.”
Well, it angers us, too.