Haredi ultra-orthodox yeshiva students 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
A man suspected of attacking and injuring Nati Grossman – editor-in-chief of the
haredi newspaper HaPeles – was convicted of aggravated assault on Monday by the
Jerusalem District Court.
The motivation for the attack was the
acrimonious split in the haredi world over the rabbinic leadership of the
ultra-Orthodox community and a subsequent battle over control of the leading
haredi newspaper Yated Ne’eman.
Yated Ne’eman is the mouthpiece for Degel
HaTorah, a non-hassidic haredi political party which – along with Agudat Yisrael
– forms the United Torah Judaism Knesset faction.
Grossman was former
editor- in-chief of Yated, but was ousted in a takeover by associates of Rabbi
Aharon Leib Shteinman, who was acknowledged as leader of the Ashkenazi
non-hassidic haredi world after the death of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in July
Grossman, along with other Yated stalwarts with allegiance to Rabbi
Shmuel Auerbach – a rival to Shteinman who heads what is known as the Jerusalem
Faction – set up HaPeles to advance Auerbach’s positions.
The rift in the
haredi world led to several violent incidents, and communal tensions were
On December 21, Haim Perelstein, a 21-year-old yeshiva student at
the Ponevezh Yehisva in Bnei Brak, and another individual attacked Grossman
outside his residence in Jerusalem’s Bayit Vagan neighborhood late at night.
Grossman sustained cuts and bruises to his face and several broken
Perelstein, who pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault,
is yet to be sentenced.
Grossman was editor-inchief of Yated for 25 years
and was appointed by Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach, who created the Degel HaTorah
party and the Yated Ne’eman newspaper as a mouthpiece for its
Following the ouster of Grossman – along with Yaakov Labin, the
newspaper’s managing director – the former management filed a lawsuit claiming
that the manner in which the new directors took control was illegal.
Tel Aviv District Court dismissed the suit in May of this year, however, ruling
that the takeover had been conducted lawfully.
Auerbach – backed by
Grossman, Labin and others loyal to the rabbi – claims that he is the rightful
inheritor of the conservative spiritual and ideological path that Shach set out
when he created Degel HaTorah and continued to a large extent by Elyashiv, not