Video: Policeman Kicks Yeshiva Student in the Face

War between Lithuanian-hareidi factions led to destruction of a library with holy books last week. Police arrest three.

Haim Lev, Gil Ronen,

Ponovezh Yeshiva
Ponovezh Yeshiva
Flash 90

The Dan District Police carried out arrests at the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak Monday night, as it continued its investigation of the destruction of the yeshiva's library last week.

A verbal dispute erupted between police detectives and some of the yeshiva students, in the course of which – according to the students – a detective kicked one of the students in the face for no apparent reason. The accompanying video shows a policeman performing a martial-arts-type kick against a student seconds before police drove away.

Three people were arrested – one of whom holds an administrative position in the yeshiva. They are currently being questioned in the police station.

Last week, two yeshiva students were arrested, on suspicion that they were involved in the destruction of the yeshiva's library, which held many holy books. The two were later released.

The sacking of the library took place as part of a feud between Lithuanian-hareidi factions within the yeshiva, each of which is identified with a different member of the yeshiva's leadership.

One of the sides accused the other of taking over a structure in the yeshiva last week, and the other side promised to respond. The response, apparently, took the form of the destruction of the library.

On the morning after the attack on the library, Lithuanian newspaper Yated Ne'eman published an advertisement in which book collectors were warned not to purchase books from the yeshiva's library if they were offered for sale, and to give them back to the yeshiva if they encounter them.

During the 1990s a leadership dispute erupted between Rabbi Shmuel Markovitz (married to a granddaughter of the yeshiva's founder) and Rabbi Eliezer Kahaneman (a grandson of the founder). Since then, the yeshiva has practically split, effectively resulting in two yeshivas in the same building, with the students occupying different dormitories though studying in the same learning hall and eating in the same dining room.