Yeshiva students attack Ein Gedi park rangers

Ranger pelted with stones after asking campers to put out illegal bonfires; none hurt, vehicle damaged.

ein gedi 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy )
ein gedi 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy )
Three park rangers and the supervisor of the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve came under a hail of stones and abuse by a group of about 100 yeshiva students from Bnei Brak early Sunday morning. The incident began when a park ranger discovered the students in the nature reserve having a bonfire and cook-out. The ranger asked the students to put out the bonfire since it is against regulations to have them. In response, the students attacked him. "They started to yell at him and then shove him and then started to throw rocks at him," Dudi Greenbaum, the reserve's supervisor, told The Jerusalem Post just hours after the incident. "He called for reinforcements which arrived in the form of two more rangers who were also attacked. Then they called me and I drove in. They threw rocks at my car and damaged the windshields. "I managed to get the principal into the car and away from the students and they started to calm down. The police came and we filed a complaint against the students," Greenbaum summarized. This is the first time I've ever encountered such behavior from that particular sector of the population, Greenbaum said. "It is generally a pleasure to deal with the religious and haredi populations. They like to hike and usually all we have to worry about is rescuing them sometimes. They hike a lot - Sukkot, Pesach, between semesters in yeshivas - but I've never encountered anything like this," he told the Post. Greenbaum couldn't precisely say what caused the students to begin acting violently. He said that the principal had tried to blame it on the rangers for approaching them, and Greenbaum noted that "one of the rangers was a Beduin, another was a woman, but they also attacked me and I am neither a Beduin nor a woman so I don't know." Greembaum said that in general there was a feeling in the Nature and Parks Authority that park rangers were coming under attack more often in recent years. "In the last few years we feel very threatened. I used to take my gun when I was going into dangerous areas like border areas. Now I even take my gun into Ein Gedi - the most popular and quietest reserve in Israel," Greenbaum lamented.