NYC anti-lockdown activist arrested for inciting riot

Police arrest Heshy Tischler after he allegedly called on a mob to assault an Orthodox Jewish journalist.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel New

The organizer of anti-lockdown protests in New York’s Orthodox Jewish community was arrested in connection with assault of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish journalist, police said Monday.

“The New York City Police Department Warrant Squad has taken Harold ‘Heshy’ Tischler into custody. He will be charged with inciting to riot and unlawful imprisonment in connection with an assault of a journalist that took place on October 7, 2020 in Brooklyn,” the NYPD tweeted.

Tischler, an Orthodox Jew, helped organize protests on October 6 after New York City ordered closures on neighborhoods with high coronavirus infection rates, with most of the closures affecting areas with high populations of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Many in the Jewish community are angry at NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, claiming the two were singling out the Jewish community while they had let Black Lives Matter protests go unchecked.

“I will personally go around opening schools and synagogues that you two stupid politicians will close, watch, and see,” Tischler tweeted.

During the Tuesday night protests Tischler is alleged to have incited people to attack reporter Jacob Kornbluh, himself an ultra-Orthodox Jew who reported on the anti-lockdown protests.

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“I was just brutally assaulted, hit in the head, and kicked at by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members of the Boro Park protest — while yelling at me ‘Nazi’ and ‘Hitler’ —after Heshy Tischler recognized me and ordered the crowd to chase me down the street,” Kornbluh tweeted after the incident.

Following the arrest, dozens of protesters supporting Tischler lined the street outside Kornbluh’s Brooklyn apartment building chanting “no Heshy, no peace,” as a line of police protected the entrance.

New York City health officials issued warnings in September that new clusters of coronavirus infections were emerging in several city neighborhoods that are home to high concentrations of Orthodox Jews.

Massive outbreaks earlier this year that killed over 700 members of the Jewish community were in many cases traced back to gatherings at synagogues.

While most of the ultra-Orthodox have been following health guidelines, groups within the communities have held large indoor gatherings leading to high positive rates for coronavirus testing.

Despite the high levels of COVID-19 in the Jewish community, de Blasio and Cuomo have come under fire on several occasions for appearing to single out Orthodox Jews.