A Ynet news team was attacked Sunday in the ultra-Orthodox city of Beitar Illit by several Yeshiva students, while trying to report on illegally-opened schools. A complaint was filed with the police.
Ynet photographer Gil Yohanan and journalist Elisha Ben Kimon arrived in the coronavirus-hit, Haredi city to cover the reopening of religious institutions in violation of the Health Ministry's orders.
Ben Kimon said shortly after taking out a camera, a yeshiva student began shouting and cursing the crew, which was later crowded by a mob spitting and pushing the two Ynet staffers. The team managed to flee the scene with theb help of a police force.
"As a journalist, I am not the story, neither is the [police] complaint, it's the assaults," said Ben Kimon. "The reality in which someone so blatantly and openly attacks a press team without thinking, - in a public space in front of everyone, in such a violent way - is a phenomenon that must be eradicated," he said.
"We did a preliminary tour of the area before the attempt to go on air," added Ben Kimon. "We saw that quite a few of the institutions for Torah studies did close. But on the fringes, there were a number that did reopen, as was the case in the previous lockdown on the city."
Police said they patrolled the city and held talks with principals, rabbis, and even Mayor Meir Rubinstein about the illegally-opened schools. The municipality, however, said the institutions that have reopened are private, therefore the municipality cannot be expected to force them to adhere to the government's rules.
This event is only the latest in a string of violent acts perpetrated against news reporters trying to cover events in Haredi communities. Several news teams have been assaulted in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Modiin Illit.