Amid Internal Haredi Feud, Vandals Strike ultra-Orthodox Lawmaker's Home

Lawmaker's camp has long been in bitter dispute with religious rivals

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
United Torah Judaism head Moshe Gafni, who also serves as chairman of the Knesset’s Finance Committee, in the Knesset plenum, Dec. 21, 2016.
UTJ leader Moshe Gafni, who chairs the Knesset Finance Committee, in the plenum last December.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Vandals glued shut the front door to the Bnei Brak home of MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, and left graffiti hostile to Gafni nearby. On Tuesday morning he was forced to call a locksmith to let him in.

Police arrived to investigate, and while it is not known who vandalized Gafni’s home, the natural suspicion is that it grew out of the ongoing split in the non-Hasidic (Lithuanian) ultra-Orthodox community, pitting the mainstream group that includes Gafni and his Degel Hatorah party against the more extreme faction led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach.

Various disputes have divided the Lithuanian Haredi community for years, and in the past a number of rabbis and other figures have suffered from harassment and violence. Police are conducting an investigation against major figures in Auerbach’s camp, and have made a number of arrests already of suspects believed to have threatened and extorted businessmen to end the boycott by advertisers against their newspaper Hapeles.

Gafni said the incident was “without a doubt annoying and unpleasant, mostly for my family, but they have dealt with much worse things than glue on the door.”

His Degel Hatorah colleague, MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism), said the systematic, continued violence and thuggery are not just personal but rather are aimed at Gafni’s religious path. Maklev said the tactics of the extremists explain why the vast majority of the religious community distances themselves from them.

Click the alert icon to follow topics: