Angry rabbi launches 'go-kart war'
Rabbi upset at notion of go-karting girls storms course, damages cars; his vehicle later vandalized
Aviel Magnezi • Ynet
Go-karting outrage: An Emmanuel rabbi upset at the sight of go-karting girls stormed the course and caused damage to the facility; the rabbi's vehicle was later vandalized in apparent retaliation for the incident.
The confrontation ensued after several girls arrived at the go-karting course in the religious community. "Usually this doesn't happen, as I respect the spirit of the community, but one of my employees brought some young relatives who really wanted to try it out so I let them do it," said Amram Gutman, one of the facility's owners.
However, not everyone in Emmanuel liked the idea of girls sitting behind the wheel, and one resident present at the site informed local Rabbi Yehoida Gadasi of the breach.
"He stormed the course, forced the girls to get out, lifted the go-karts, and simply broke them," one eyewitness said. "He turned the cars over and slammed them on the floor while uttering quite a few curses."
Other eyewitnesses said the rabbi's followers later arrived on his orders and removed all the go-karts from the course. Only after a verbal dispute with the facility's owners, the rabbi agreed to place the cars at the warehouse on site.
"I just arrived at that time and tried to talk to the rabbi, but he told me there was nothing to talk about," co-owner Gutman said. "He was yelling that I opened a brothel and we couldn't do a thing. He simply removed three go-karts from the course. There's nothing more infuriating than this."
Gutman said he and his two partners plan to file a complaint over the incident in the near future. He added that as result of the damage caused to the go-karts, he cannot operate the facility at this time.
"I called the police, but the community police officer called it off, claiming there as no violence involved," he said.
However, the retaliation to the incident soon followed, with Rabbi Gadasi's vehicle vandalized a few nights later. The vehicle's tires were slashed and a windshield was shattered. According to local residents, the perpetrators of the "revenge attack" were teenagers upset over the rabbi's acts. Gutman said he was blamed by the rabbi for the act of vandalism and was taken in for interrogation before being released.
However, Rabbi Gadasi's associates present a different version for the events. The rabbi's assistant, Ophir Shlush, said Gadasi and his followers shut down the facility only after the violation of an agreement whereby only boys would be allowed to drive the go-karts.
"The cars were indeed overturned, but they were not broken," he said, adding that the matter was clarified and resolved.
Emmanuel is the haredi West Bank town recently in the news because hasidim there refused to let their girls go to school with Sefardi haredi girls unless the Sefardim adoped hasidic dress and customs.
[Hat Tip: David Rosenberg.]