Rumble in Leading Bnei Brak Haredi Yeshiva

Student arrested for assaulting yeshiva dean, leading to all out clash between rival factions vying to control flagship Lithuanian yeshiva.

Chaim Lev, Ari Yashar, | updated: 10:18

Ponevezh Yeshiva (illustration)
Ponevezh Yeshiva (illustration)
Yaakov Naumi/Flash 90

A violent clash occurred on Monday morning at the flagship Lithuanian-haredi Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, the largely haredi suburb of Tel Aviv, after the yeshiva's dean Rabbi Shmuel Markovich was assaulted by a member of an opposing faction who was later arrested.

The attack was reported by yeshiva students who witnessed it on Sunday night, and on Monday morning the student suspected of hitting the rabbi was arrested. He denied the charges, claiming that instead he was attacked by followers of Rabbi Markovich.

Following the incident, several other students were wounded as violence flared up between the two opposing factions, with witnesses saying that tear gas was even used in the confrontation.

Hatzalah medical crews were called to the scene, giving treatment to the wounded students and bringing some of them to Maayanei Hayeshua Hospital in Bnei Brak. 

Police forces streamed into the yeshiva to break apart the fight.

The recent violence is just the most recent flareup in an old conflict at the yeshiva that has been building for years between factions supporting different rabbis for leadership.

The root of the conflict is a struggle for control of the learning institution, with many in the Lithuanian stream of the haredi public criticizing the schism as being a "great desecration of G-d's name."