The chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of Ashdod, Rabbi Yosef Sheinin, was savagely attacked by a youth in Ashdod Wednesday night. The rabbi is in good condition. Police have arrested the 16-year-old attacker, but Rabbi Sheinin is not pressing charges against him.
The incident began during the evening hours on Wednesday, as the rabbi was driving in the city. When he stopped at a traffic light, the attacker bounded across the street and pulled open the unlocked door. He began kicking and punching the rabbi, and cursing him as well.
Apparently it was a case of mistaken identity; as soon as he realized whom he was attacking, the youth ran away. Witnesses, meanwhile had called police, who arrived quickly to take a statement from the rabbi. The latter refused to file a complaint, saying that although the youth was clearly wayward, he did not want to ruin his future.
Police tracked down the youth and arrested him anyway. Under questioning, the youth claimed that the rabbi's car had almost hit him, and in his fear and anger he started beating him up. Police are seeking an extension of his remand.
In an interview Thursday, Rabbi Sheinin said that he felt fine and was able to return to his normal activities almost immediately after the incident. “I decided not to press charges because the youth asked me for forgiveness, and I wholeheartedly forgave him,” the rabbi said.