Yeshiva students attack Ein Gedi park rangers

Attack victim: This is the first time I've ever encountered such behavior from that particular sector.

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 from 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, the ranger said. "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 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 said. "This is the first time I've ever encountered such behavior from that particular sector of the population," he continued. "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 - during Sukkot and Pessah, between semesters in yeshivot - and I've never encountered anything like this." Greenbaum couldn't say what caused the students to begin acting violently. He said their principal had tried to blame 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." Many in the Nature and Parks Authority, Greenbaum said, say that park rangers have come under attack more often than 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. The principal of the yeshiva involved in the incident, Mishkenot Haro'im's Avraham Ziat, did not return calls for comment by press time. Mishkenot Haro'im is a haredi high school recognized by the Education Ministry.