In the ongoing saga of extremist Charedim attacking cell phone store owners, the violence was raised to another level yet again, as hooligans, who were among those protesting against cell phone stores in Bnei Brak rampaged and attacked people, even in broad daylight. Another attack took place in Jerusalem. These attacks took place both in secret and on major thoroughfares in front of crowds of people.
The most recent incident took place on Thursday when Dovid Davidoff, the owner of Didi Phone in Bnei Brak, was attacked right next to his store. The attacker was a ruffian who was participating in the protest against the store after Davidoff refused to surrender to edicts from the self-appointed “Va’adat HaRabbanim” who have decided to put themselves in charge of communications for the populace of the city.
Davidoff was punched in the face on Rabbi Akiva Street. Police officers who were nearby, arrested the attacker, took his details, and then released him. “I got punched in the face. It was incredibly powerful. It seemed like he wanted to kill me,” Davidoff told reporters afterward.
The attacker claimed that he was sprayed with pepper spray in the face and that prompted his attack on Davidoff. Davidoff refuted the statement and said that he has no idea who used pepper spray. “The assailant had no sign of pepper spray on his face and saw that I had none on me, he came to attack me anyway,” Davidoff added. “I’m happy to go to a Din Torah in front of his Rav or Admor. I want to see this man lie to his Rebbe and say that I attacked him. There are lots of witnesses who saw what happened who testify against him. I’ll go to his rebbe or to the police.”
Davidoff was also ambushed on Tuesday while he was working in the store. Davidoff recounted that a different assailant was waiting for him outside the store in an area where there was no camera. “At around 7:00 p.m. I went to go to the bathroom. Someone was waiting for me there and hit me. I sustained the blow and fell backward on the floor. I was hit in the face, and it broke my lips.
At first, Davidoff refused to publicize the incident, but now that his attackers are marching in the streets in front of everyone, he is coming out with the whole story.
A similar but separate incident took place in Jerusalem this week, just a few hours before Davidoff was ambushed. Extremists were protesting against the store “Anak Cellular” in the capital. During the protest, a young Charedi man who wanted to enter the store to purchase a phone was viciously assaulted.
The store, which is located in the Geulah neighborhood, has seen its fair share of violent attacks and incitement. Over the past few weeks, the store has faced countless violent protests outside of its doors. Once again the reason for the protests is that the store refuses to give in to the demands of the so-called “va’ad Harabonim” which is attempting to force all cellular stores in Charedi neighborhoods to only sell phones that are okayed by them.
Store owners told BChadrei Charedim that they are used to seeing potential customers being attacked by the mob whenever protests are taking place, but what happened on Tuesday was beyond the pale. “I don’t even sell smartphones that are not accepted by the Charedi community. I am simply not willing to accept these extremely harsh and limiting criteria set forth by the “va’ad” which will cause me financial loss.”
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel, arrived in Bnei Brak on Thursday evening at the store Didi Phone, which has been at the center of the “Cellular Terrorism” protests on Rabbi Akiva Street. Minister Hendel spoke with the store owners, who have been accosted, physically assaulted, and attacked, as part of an ongoing extortion campaign to get them to acquiesce to regulations set forth by a self-appointed “va’ad harrabonim” who wish to dictate what phones can or can’t be sold to the Chareidi community. On Thursday, one of the owners was hit in the face by a hooligan extremist who was taking part in a protest against the store right outside.
Minister Hendel told the owner and his staff that “This ‘va’ad’ that believes that it can dictate what should or should not be allowed in the state of Israel will find out that this is not the case.”
The workers asked the minister to stop this ‘va’ad’ that is carrying out extortion tactics in order to get all cellular stores in the Chareidi community to agree to their terms and receive their stamp of approval. When store owners refuse, they are met with extreme violence and protests.
Minister Hendel responded to their request and said: “I am not in charge of enforcement, not against Rabbis and not against askanim. I am in charge of enforcement when it comes to communications companies and making sure that there is a fair and open market for everyone, including the Chareidi community. I will take care of you, you are citizens of Israel.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)