United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev were assaulted on Thursday both physically and verbally by extreme ultra-Orthodox members of the Naturei Karta movement in the religious Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea She'arim.

The assault was apparently unrelated to a recent row between the ultra-Orthodox community and Israel's courts over the segregation of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews at a school in the West Bank settlement of Immanuel.

However, the assault occurred as the two MKs headed to a meeting with the Slonim rabbi of the ultra-Orthodox sect at the center of the segregation affair. The Slonim rabbi has instructed his followers to go to jail rather than allow their Ashkenazi daughters attend the same school as Sephardic girls.

According to Gafni's aide, the two men had attended the synagogue in the neighborhood prior to the meeting. The attackers identified the MKs outside the synagogue and "started to beat them to death, gathered around them, cursed them and called out 'Zionists' at them." The MKs later fled to the rabbi's home.