The most senior figure in the haredi world, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, 99, was attacked early Wednesday morning by a haredi man who broke into his home. The rabbi was only very lightly injured in the incident.

The intruder, a 28-year-old Modi'in Illit resident, broke into Shteinman's apartment in Bnei Brak at around 5 am. He grabbed the rabbi by his clothes, shook him and yelled at him before being restrained by associates of Shteinman, who were studying with him at the time.

The man was arrested by police officers called to the scene.

According to the police, witnesses heard the man say he was “hearing voices” telling him to go to Shteinman’s house.

Haredi website Kikar Hashabat reported that witnesses claimed the attacker said he had supported Bnei Torah, a rebel haredi political faction, and would “take revenge.”

The police did not corroborate this report. But a police spokesman said that the intruder would be taken for psychiatric evaluation.

A close aide of Shteinman’s told The Jerusalem Post that the rabbi had been examined by a doctor at his home, and, other than a bruise on his chest, was unharmed.

Tensions have been running extremely high in the haredi community in recent months, owing to the unprecedented political split between the mainstream non-hassidic sector, led by Shteinman and the Degel HaTorah party, and the Bnei Torah party led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, aged 82.

Both sides had been trading insults and rabbinical denunciations in the run-up to the local elections in Israel, which were held Tuesday. A death threat was also posted on a vehicle belonging to Auerbach earlier this week. 

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