Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the head of Rabbis For Human Rights, was attacked near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar, a stronghold of the outlawed Kach Movement and of other groups linked to the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, by a masked Jewish settler who used rocks and a knife to threaten and then strike Ascherman.
Masked Settler Uses Knife, Stones To Attack Head Of Rabbis For Human Rights
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the head of Rabbis For Human Rights, was attacked near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar, a stronghold of the outlawed Kach Movement and of other groups linked to the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, by a masked Jewish settler who used rocks and a knife to threaten and then strike Ascherman, Ha’aretz reported.
The incident was captured on video and is posted above.
Police reportedly labeled the incident as "friction between left wing and right wing activists during the time of the [Palestinian] olive harvest” and did what they often do when Jewish settlers are violent – almost nothing.
The settler accosted Ascherman and threatened him with the knife as Ascherman and other members of human rights groups stood guard over Palestinian farmers so they could harvest their olives without being assaulted by Jewish settlers – a common occurrence police rarely do anything about.
Ascherman says he and a Palestinian farmer returned from harvesting olives at a further out grove and saw a Jewish settler trying to steal olives from the grove closer to the Palestinian’s home. At the same time, another Jewish settler was allegedly setting some of the ancient olive trees on fire.
Ascherman, who is known to Jewish settlers and who was wearing a kippah (Jewish skullcap) said as he approached the fire the masked settler beat him and hit him with a rock. The masked settler then pulled a knife and threatened Ascherman with it.
Ascherman defended himself and then confronted another settler. At that point, the first masked settler with the knife hits Ascherman again and slashes his knife at Ascherman before running away.
Police told Ha’aretz officers are canvasing the area and that an investigation has been opened in coordination with other Israeli government security agencies. They also claimed to view incidents like this with the utmost severity and said they would have "zero tolerance" for those committing these crimes.
In the past, similar attacks on Palestinian olive groves and Palestinian farmers have largely gone unpunished, as have settler attacks on human rights activists. But this may be the first time a knife was used in such attack, and that – combined with intense scrutiny of Israel’s previous failures to police these crimes – might cause police to act with authority now.