Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, the leader of the controversial Yerushalmi Faction (Hapeleg Hayerushalmi), was confronted by a haredi man who had previously served in the army Thursday night at a wedding hall in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Auerbach, a staunch opponent of haredi enlistment in the IDF, has urged followers to refuse to cooperate with army officials, even for the purposes of obtaining a draft deferment as yeshiva students. Full-time yeshiva students are given draft deferrals from the army, so long as they remain in a recognized religious school.

Under Rabbi Auerbach’s guidance, the Yerushalmi Faction has launched a series of road-blocking protests in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Shilat Junction near the haredi population center of Modiin Illit, and other locations across the country.

The faction’s hardline has drawn criticism from much of the haredi community, with leading rabbinic figures describing the group as ‘disgusting’, “reckless fools”, and even inhuman.

On Thursday, Rabbi Auerbach was confronted by a haredi man as Rabbi Auerbach was leaving the Zevhil event hall in the Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood in Jerusalem.

According to Behadrei Haredi, the man who confronted Rabbi Auerbach had previously served in the IDF.

As Rabbi Auerbach left the event hall, the man shouted at him, calling him, among other things “a murderer”, and an “evil-doer”.

Students of the 86-year-old rabbi who were present at the scene claim that the man had tried to force his way past the rabbi’s followers to physically assault him.

“This enraged young man wanted to attack the dean of the [Maalot Hatorah Yeshiva] and beat him,” a witness told Behadrei Haredim. “We were able to stop him just before [he was able to do so].”