Rabid anti-vaxxer attacks: Leading Israeli rabbi narrowly escapes assault

“The guy was insane. He disgracefully screamed at the head of the yeshiva,” eyewitnesses said.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Police in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak on Wednesday arrested a man for allegedly attempting to assault Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, over his support for the government’s coronavirus vaccination campaign.

“The guy was insane. He disgracefully screamed at the head of the yeshiva, and only by a miracle did we manage to overcome him,” eyewitnesses told Kikar HaShabbat.

“At the last moment, by the grace of heaven, physical injury to the head of the yeshiva was avoided. A large police force was called to the scene and arrived quickly,” the witnesses said.

The 97-year-old rabbi was walking home after teaching at the Ponevezh Yeshiva when a man in his 20s is said to have approached him shouting about coronavirus vaccines and military service for yeshiva students.

According to a police statement, “Officers arrived on scene and observed the suspect in a rage and shouting.”

The suspect was arrested and taken to the police station for interrogation. He will be brought to the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court for a hearing on the extension of his detention.

“It should be noted that since the outbreak of the virus, Gaon Rabbi Gershon Edelstein had been the leader of those calling upon the public to comply with the Ministry of Health’s orders and to follow the guidance,” the Ministry of Health said in a December 2020 statement.

“Gaon Rabbi Gershon Edelstein’s departure from his home at Rabad Street in Bnei Brak to receive the vaccination delivers a clear and unequivocal message to the public. It deflects the false claims against the vaccines,” the statement said.

According to the Ministry of Health, Rabbi Edelstein, who serves as the president of the Degel HaTorah party’s Council of Torah Sages, called on the public to “Go get vaccinated with all due haste.”

For those who remain reluctant to receive the new mRNA vaccine even after Rabbi Edelstein’s endorsement, the city of Bnei Brak began offering free meals of cholent last month as an incentive.