Frustration related to the body may lead to violence

Violence may also be a ‘solution’ to such frustrations. It is along these lines that we explain Haredi violence. In contrast to current understandings, Haredi violence is expressed foremostly within the boundaries of the Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel.

Written By Gideon Aran 

This is an internal violence that is evidenced in a wide spectrum of cases: from theological clashes, competition between cliques about rabbinical rulings or economic interests, but is mainly about heritable leadership roles, through to hooliganism and criminality among youths.

A substantial component of Haredi violence is verbal: much loathing, aggression, obscenity and vulgarism are exposed in graffiti and wall placards through which members of one subgroup condemn the other. There is also physical violence: street fights where fists and stones are used. Destruction of property is especially popular and includes the burning of sacred buildings or smearing excreta on their walls.

For some reason, scholars do not tend to depict intra-fundamentalist violence. In light of its high probability, it would seem fruitful to look for evidence of such violence among a variety of contemporary radical religious groups.

Note the cases of the extreme Sunni movements, offshoots of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine and Egypt which bear a certain similarity to the Haredi case. The usual stress in the relevant scholarship is on fundamentalist violence that is directed outwards and whose source is the tension-ridden relations with the environment. The same holds for the writing on Haredi violence.

Taken from “Body, Violence and Fundamentalism: The Case of Jewish Ultra-Orthodoxy”.

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