The Jerusalem Police on Sunday arrested Yoel Kreus, the "operations officer" of the Eda Haredit, a staunchly anti-Zionist haredi communal organization, for allegedly assaulting a woman in the Meah Shearim neighborhood after she refused to cross the street at his command.
A spokesman for Eda Haredit said "Rabbi Kreus never laid a hand on anyone."
According to initial investigation, Kreus spotted the woman walking on one of the neighborhood's streets and instructed her to cross over to another street.
When she refused, he allegedly assaulted her, spraying her with mace. The woman did not require medical attention and called the police.
The officers who arrived at the scene promptly arrested Kreus, who reportedly implicated himself in the incident.
Eda Haredit sources slammed the arrest. Kreus is a prominent figure in the community and according to the community's spokesman, Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim, "The police are burning their last few bridges with the haredi community."
Many within Eda Haredit speculated that the arrest was actually a form of retribution for the latest haredi riots in the capital.
"Rabbi Kreus spoke against several things lately, so it is possible that is why the police did this, although I certainly hope that is not true," Pappenheim said.
"Naturally, once a complaint is filed an investigation is in order, but the arrest was wrong. This is an Eda officer, a major activist in the community, who is all of a sudden suspected of an act he couldn’t have possibly committed.
"Rabbi Kreus never laid a hand on anyone and has never taken part in any violent act whatsoever."
Ronen Medzini contributed to this report