Ultra-Orthodox Man Says Young Israeli Attacked Him for 'Spreading COVID'

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An ultra-Orthodox man in Bnei Brak, last month.
An ultra-Orthodox man in Bnei Brak, last month.Credit: Nir Keidar

An ultra-Orthodox man was assaulted on a bus in central Israel on Sunday after another passenger blamed his community for spreading COVID-19 in Israel.

According to the passenger, who was travelling to his workplace in Bnei Brak, a young man approached him on the bus and yelled, "you're the reason we suffered from COVID," and then punched the Haredi man in the abdomen and face. The victim was consequently forced to seek medical treatment. 

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"This is a result of the antisemitic hate speech that is being sounded against the ultra-Orthodox community," the ultra-Orthodox Kol Chai radio station, the passenger's workplace, said in a statement.    

"We call on politicians to condemn the attack and alter the discussion around the ultra-Orthodox community," they added.  

After measures to fight coronavirus were enacted, the ultra-Orthodox community was met with harsh public criticism following numerous reports of violations and clashes with the police.

During Israel's third lockdown, dozens of religious schools in some of Israel's most radical ultra-Orthodox communities remained open in defiance of lockdown restrictions and despite staggering infection rates among ultra-Orthodox schoolchildren.

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