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Rabbi, yeshiva director violently assaulted in Jaffa

CM 18/04/2021

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Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, 60, the dean of the Shirat Moshe Hesder Yeshiva in Jaffa and director of the yeshiva Moshe Shendowitz were violently assaulted in the city on Sunday. Several right-wing politicians, including Yamina chairman MK Naftali Bennett, condemned the incident, asserting that assault, seemingly perpetrated by two Arab residents of Jaffa, had nationalist motivations and called on the police to combat such attacks. The attack comes after several assaults against ultra-Orthodox men in Jerusalem by residents of east Jerusalem.

On Sunday afternoon, the police received emergency calls about the incident and began a search for the assailants.A short while later, the police issued a statement saying two suspects in their thirties had been arrested on suspicion of attacking the rabbi.

According to a spokesman for the Association of Hesder Yeshivas, Shendowitz was taken to hospital to evaluate his injuries while Mali received several blows but was not seriously injured. The spokesman said that Mali and Shendowitz had been examining an unused building in the neighborhood, under Jewish ownership, close to the yeshiva and that the assailants began cursing and then attacking the two men. According to Ynet, there is a dispute between the yeshiva and local residents over the use of the building.Speaking to Channel 13, Shendowitz said “When they shout at you because your are wearing a kippah, that you are a settler and that you should get out of there, it would appear there is another background [to the attack].”He said he was kicked and punched, but that he did not known the assailants, adding that the yeshiva had good relations with the neighborhood residents.Bennett tweeted following the assault that “The State of Israel is not a shtetl in which you can harm Jews,” and described the attack on Mali a national disgrace. “We are witnessing to a series of attacks of Arab rioters against observant Jews in a deliberate and antisemitic manner,” said Bennett. “The Israel Police and the law enforcement system must act with a strong hand against such expressions of antisemitism in our state and impose severe punishments for these barbaric crimes.”

In response to the incident, chairman of the Religious Zionist Party MK Bezalel Smotrich tweeted a verse from the Biblical Book of Numbers which states that the inhabitants of the Land of Israel will become “stings” and thorns” for the Israelites if they are not expelled.

MK Itamar Ben Gvir, also from the Religious Zionist Party said the police must “begin to stop attacks on Jews,” and said that “Against enemies who have chosen terror we must act determinedly, until the terror stops and security returns to the residents of the State of Israel.” Source: Jerusalem Post

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