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,
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
party, and the Bnei Torah party led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach,
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.