Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbol blasted challenger Eli Cohen on Sunday over
what he claims was an attack on his campaign workers by activists affiliated
with Cohen on Thursday night.
According to Abutbol campaign spokesman
Hanoch Bressler, two Abutbol workers were attacked while putting up campaign
posters in the neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph late Thursday evening.
Bressler stated that two men, whom he identified as Cohen activists, pelted the
Abutbol workers with stones and ceramic tiles after being asked to cease ripping
down newly hung campaign signs.
The men were treated on the scene and
received only light injuries, Bressler stated.
Asher Weig, one of the
workers, told The Jerusalem Post that he believed his attackers to be Cohen
campaign workers because when asked why they were removing Abutbol signs, they
replied that they were “being paid” to do so.
Mayor Abutbol called on all
parties to refrain from violence and instructed his campaign workers not to
allow themselves to respond to the Cohen campaign’s “provocations.”
should make sure that “all of his activists are operating within the framework
of the law,” Abutbol said.
Zvi Wolicki, a spokesman for the Cohen
campaign, denied that violence was used in any form by the challenger’s
“We know of no such incident and find the staging of fabricated
incidents to be distasteful at best and part of the continued hate-mongering,”
Wolicki told the Post. “We are very disappointed in the level of [political]
Wolicki accused the mayor of exacerbating sectoral divides
and turning the election into a “haredi/non-haredi” battle in order to avoid
discussing substantive issues, citing election advertisements featuring haredi
children behind barbed wire and claims that Cohen would allow public
transportation on Shabbat.
The alleged attack came less than a day after
Rabbi Avrohom Leventhal, a candidate for city council with the moderate haredi
Tov party, accused an Abutbol campaign worker of stoning him following an
argument over signs.
Responding to the Abutbol campaign’s accusations
against Cohen, Tov spokesman Stuart Schnee called on “all sides to focus on what
will make our city a better place to live in.” “The alleged use of violence by
anyone is unacceptable. Beit Shemesh has always been a wonderful community where
residents of all types coexist peacefully, and we will continue to be neighbors
the day after the elections,” he said.
Signs belonging to both Abutbol
and Cohen have been torn down across the city in recent days. One resident who
spoke with the Post on Sunday stated that she had to repeatedly eject children
from her yard who had tried to tear down her election signs.
spoke to one of the children’s fathers,” she said, “he asked me what I was going
to do about it.”
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