Anti-Chareidi Tiveria mayor Ron Kobi announced on Sunday that he would visit Mea Shearim and Beit Shemesh as part of his provocative election campaign for his anti-religious party, the Secular Right.
Last week, Kobi tried to visit Bnei Brak but was forced to leave with the accompaniment of police after a crowd of Bnei Brak residents gathered to protest his presence in the city.
Kobi didn’t visit Mea Shearim but he did visit Yerushalayim on Tuesday, according to a B’Chadrei Chareidim report on Wednesday. He toured the Machane Yehuda shuk, confronting Chareidi shoppers as he walked.
Later, he came to the Kosel square, filming himself on Facebook Live as a few yeshivah bochurim joked around with him, asking him why he wasn’t wearing a kippah on a visit to the Kosel. Another group of yeshivah bochurim then approached and protested his presence by serenading him with songs about Shabbos. They also berated him to take off his kippah, which had meanwhile appeared on his head, saying that he should be ashamed to wear a kippah in light of his actions against Shabbos.
As the bochurim continued to chide him, the “Admor of Berdichev,” R’ Aharon Baumel, appeared and warmly hugged Kobi. He then accompanied him to the Kosel itself as the yeshivah bochurim chastised him for associating with him. “Hakadosh Boruch Hu loves him,” R’ Baumel retorted.
The shouts of the yeshiva bochurim continued as Kobi and R’ Baumel reached the Kosel and R’ Baumel began reciting Tehillim with him. “Don’t touch the Kosel,” they yelled at Kobi.
“It’s forbidden to humiliate him,” R’ Baumel said. “Hashem loves all the Jews. Ron Kobi is a tzaddik.” Later, he told the bochurim, “Anyone who called him a rasha is obligated to ask forgiveness from him. There’s no re’shaim in Am Yisrael.”
“He’s a rasha. It’s forbidden to flatter re’shaim,” a protestor responded.
Eventually, the protestors grew louder and more unruly and Kobi was forced to leave the area with the help of the police.
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(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)