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Gangs of Meah She’arim

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Last week, a Meah She’arim gang that calls itself the Sikrikim assaulted a small group of Haredi girls, yelling and spitting at them for not being quite modestly dressed enough. (Helpfully, Yeshiva World lets us know that the “females” were appropriately dressed and thus, “the attack was without provocation and without justification.”)

A couple of hours later, relatives of the girls returned to the scene and beat up the young men responsible for the harassment. It turned into a brawl involving dozens of people.

Earlier this year, at the end of Sukkot, the Sikrikim glued shut the door of Gerrer Rebbe David Alter to prevent him from leaving the house for services. In retaliation, a group of Gerrer Hasidim boys and men chased down a Sikrikim leader and beat him bloody.

The Sikrikim named themselves after the Sicarii, an ancient Jewish  guerilla organization that sought Jewish independence from the Romans and service to God alone, mostly by committing violence against fellow Jews that it perceived as collaborators. The media coverage I’ve seen (mainly English language orthodox and ultra-orthodox blogs), describes the modern-day Sikrikim as an independent group of somewhere between 20-100 young men.