הלווית האדמור מפיטסבורג
Rebbe Leifer's funeral procession in Ashdod
Photo: Avi Rokach
Clashes between Haredi mourners and police at Rebbe Leifer's funearl in Ashdod

Clashes erupt as police disperse thousands at funeral of rabbi who died of coronavirus

Violence breaks out between officers and Haredi mourners who turned out for burial of of Rebbe Mordechai Leifer, head of the Pittsburg Hasidic dynasty, who succumbed to COVID-19 on Sunday after two month battle

Matan Tzuri, Kobi Nachshoni |
Published: 10.05.20, 15:18
Clashes erupted in the southern city of Ashdod on Monday as police tried to disperse thousands of of ultra-Orthodox Jews attending a rabbi who died of COVID-19.
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  • The mourners turned out for the funeral of Rebbe Mordechai Leifer, head of the Pittsburg Hasidic dynasty, in violation of lockdown restrictions imposed as Israel tries to bring a second wave of the virus under control.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    עימותים ואלימות בין המשטרה לחרדים בהלוויה של האדמו"ר מפיטסבורג אשר נפטר קורונה
    עימותים ואלימות בין המשטרה לחרדים בהלוויה של האדמו"ר מפיטסבורג אשר נפטר קורונה
    Clashes between Haredi mourners and police at Rebbe Leifer's funearl in Ashdod
    Ashdod has been classified by the Health Ministry as a coronavirus hotspot.
    Initially, the mourners were allowed to gather unimpeded as police officers looked on. But police soon after barricaded the area in an attempt to disperse the crowd, which sparked the clashes.
    The rebbe, who passed away Sunday at the age of 64, led the small Hasidic community in Ashdod numbering several dozen families for nearly 30 years.
    Due to the small number of his flock, the rebbe was never considered part of the Hasidic movement's leadership, but did hold sizable influence in the coastal city.
    Haredi mourners and police clash in Ashdod during a funeral
    Leifer mainly became known throughout the Hasidic world for his niggunim (Jewish religious songs) for Shabbat and other holidays.
    Two months ago, he became ill with the virus, resulting in him being hospitalized at Netanya's Laniado Medical Center in serious condition until he succumbed to the disease.
    Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman slammed the funeral ceremony, calling it an insult to the country that he attributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the pandemic.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    הלווית האדמור מפיטסבורג
    הלווית האדמור מפיטסבורג
    The funeral for Rebbe Mordechai Leifer in Ashdod
    "These images show a spit in the face of the state," Liberman said.
    "The ultra-Orthodox community is attempting to reach herd immunity due to the failure of the Netanyahu government's failure. There is no leadership, budget, decision making, policy or enforcement.
    "In order for the public's health and economy to be rebuilt and this lockdown to end, Netanyahu and the Haredi parties must move to the opposition benches as soon as possible," he said.
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