Head of the Hadera Yeshiva Rabbi Elyashiv HaCohen has stated that he was attacked by Israel Police officers at the entrance to the Western Wall on Jerusalem Day while protesting against their refusal to allow religious Jews to enter the area.
However, police have claimed that he was arrested after violating orders and provoking police officers, continuing his refusal to cooperate even while detained for questioning.
Speaking to Ynet, HaCohen's daughter recounted the events, saying that he arrived in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday "with the whole family, including women and children."
Continuing, she recounted that "at one point the police blocked us and did not let us pass through the shortcut to the Western Wall, while allowing many others to pass - tourists, Arabs and secular people. Anyone who was not dressed in religious garments and who did not have a religious appearance.
"A specific police officer jumped on him, knocked him to the floor, kicked him, beat him in the stomach and head, one of them literally strangled him," she alleged.
In response, Israel Police released a statement saying that "during police activities in the Old City to prevent incidents of violence, a passerby began to disturb the order, shouting at the police and interfering with their activities. Talking to him several times did not help. while police were trying to get him to stop, he refused, got angry and continued to disturb the order, provoke and interfere with activity at the place. He was therefore arrested for questioning."
Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana condemned the conduct exhibited by the police officers, saying that "it is impossible to prevent a Jew from going to Jerusalem just because he appears to be religious."
"It is impossible to prevent a Jew from going to Jerusalem just because he appears to be religious."Matan Kahana
The brother of Rabbi Eliyashiv Hacohen, Gershon Hacohen, also came to his defense, tweeting that "Rabbi Eliyashiv is my brother, and is certainly not a man of provocation. It must be acknowledged that the Jews in the Jewish state have recently been under oppression and discrimination."