Yeshiva feud sees police arrest dozens of students in Bnei Brak

Authorities detain 30 yeshiva students during the raid at the famous Ponovezh Yeshiva amid reported feud between rival groups.

Handcuffs [Illustrative] (photo credit: INIMAGE)
Handcuffs [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Police deployed in force in Bnei Brak early Thursday morning to carry out dozens of arrests at one of the ultra-Orthodox world’s flagship yeshivas, Tel Aviv police said.
The arrest followed a series of complaints about violence, vandalism and arson among a small core group of offenders, police said.
Thirty yeshiva students were arrested during the raid at the famous Ponevezh Yeshiva, as police went door to door with lists of students, looking for suspects involved in what has been described by police and reports in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) press as a feud between two rival groups of students at Ponevezh.
One of the groups was described in reports in the haredi press as “the terrorists,” and the other as “the haters.”
The two follow different rabbis, according to a statement made by one of the suspects’ attorneys in court on Thursday.
Police said that over the past months they have received dozens of complaints about acts of violence and vandalism, and carried out the arrests in order to try to calm the situation at the yeshiva, one of the most renowned Litvak yeshivas in the world.
Haredi media mentioned on Thursday an incident that occurred before the High Holy Days, in which students from the “terrorists” group ransacked a library at the yeshiva associated with their rivals. The incident was described as a pogrom by haredi Internet sites.
The raids were meant to focus on a core group of instigators, police said, and by Thursday afternoon 26 of the 30 were released without conditions.
The other four were released from custody and ordered banned from Bnei Brak for three days.
The judge at the hearing said that there was no reason to keep the defendants in custody because of their young age and the nature of the allegations.