Approximately a dozen press photographers were reportedly assaulted by supporters of Sefardi haredi kabbalist Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto outside a hearing at Israel’s Supreme Court today. Court security and police apparently did nothing to stop the assaults. No arrests appear to have been made.
Above: Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto
Followers Of Haredi Rabbi Physically Assault Press Photographers Outside Israel’s Supreme Court
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Approximately a dozen press photographers were assaulted by supporters of Sefardi haredi kabbalist Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto outside a hearing at Israel’s Supreme Court today, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Court security and police apparently did nothing to stop the assaults. No arrests appear to have been made.
Pinto, a convicted felon with ties to organized crime, was in court appealing a one-year prison sentence for attempted bribery of a senior police official. The sentence should have been much longer but Israel’s attorney general authorized a sweetheart plea deal for Pinto – a deal Pinto is now trying to wiggle out of.
“[Pinto] arrived [at the Supreme Court] with 18 sympathizers to make sure that we would not photograph him,” the Jerusalem Post’s Marc Israel Sellem said, noting that Pinto had no court order in place to block photographers from taking photos of him.
“At the end of the court hearing,” Sellem continued, “his supporters started to beat me. One of them broke my camera and a second one pushed me on the floor. The thing that is unacceptable is that it's inside the Supreme Court, a civilian beat a photographer and prevented me from doing my work.”
Sellem noted that court security did not anticipate the attack and clearly was not prepared for it.
Justices have faced increasingly severe threats of late from extremist West Bank Jewish settlers and from others, including from followers of Pinto. But the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not made protecting the court a priority.
Netanyahu and many of his coalition partners are in the middle of a protected battle to severely limit the High Court’s powers.
Sellem told the Post he would file a criminal complaint with the police later tonight.
A recently released recording of Pinto encouraging convicted felon Shalom Domrani, the alleged head of organized crime in much of southern Israel, to flee to the US to avoid looming criminal prosecution includes Pinto’s promise that he could get Domrani a 10-year visa to do so.