Assailant of haredi newspaper editor convicted

Court convicts yeshiva student of aggravated assault from last year's attack of editor Nati Grossman.

June 24, 2013 19:02
1 minute read.
Ultra-orthodox yeshiva students [illustrative]

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 2012.

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 high.

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 fingers.

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 views.

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.

The 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 Shteinman.

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