Jerusalem Post photographer attacked by haredim

The Jerusalem Post's Marc Israel Sellem was attacked by an ultra-Orthodox couple while attempting to take photographs.

A haredi family walks down the street in the Makor Baruch neighborhood of Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A haredi family walks down the street in the Makor Baruch neighborhood of Jerusalem
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
It sounded like a reasonable assignment. The day after the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community decided to defy government restrictions and open up their educational institutions against the law, a photo of such an institution with students would seem to be in order.
That was at least the thinking of The Jerusalem Post’s award-winning staff photographer Marc Israel Sellem as he paid a visit to the paper’s offices Sunday morning.
I innocently suggested that he might grab a good shot within walking distance of the Post. Most mornings on the way to the office, I invariably get stuck on Haturim Street, which leads to Jaffa Road.
Ahead of me, a minivan ejects a couple dozen young heder (elementary school) pupils, who run into the courtyard of one of those picturesque buildings on the narrow road. It would be a great location to take a good photo of the tentative first day back from the full lockdown.
Marc agreed it was a good idea and set out for the seven-minute walk with his expensive long-lens camera in tow. Fifteen minutes later, he returned to the office, red in the face and somewhat breathless.
“That wasn’t a great idea,” he said. “I got attacked, and somebody tried to steal my camera.”
He had walked up the street, snapping some shots along the way. A car passing by slowed down, and a young haredi couple, around 30 years old, started yelling at him: “What are you taking pictures of? Get out of here!”
The man got out of the car and confronted Marc, throwing a couple punches and attempting to break his camera. Marc resisted and grabbed his camera back. But fearing for his safety, he decided to retreat to the Post.
First, however, he called the police to file a complaint against the couple, who tried to prevent him from doing his job. We would get our photo one way or another, but that became less of a priority in the wake of the realization that Marc could have been seriously hurt.
That’s the state of the union in this era of social divisions brought on by the deep distrust and disdain that Israel’s clans feel for each other – a nadir that has made walking down the street with a camera a risky venture.