A riot broke out in the haredi neighborhood Beit Yisrael in central Jerusalem on Saturday night, after large police forces used heavy force to arrest Rabbanit Yocheved Grossman, on suspicion that she knew the haredi stabber who attacked the controversial gay pride parade last Thursday.
Witnesses related that the rabbanit was arrested amid the use of heavy violence at her home on Ratzabi Street, and in the process was wounded by the officers and rushed to the hospital for treatment.
This is in fact the second police crackdown on the Grossman family following the stabbing by Yishai Shlissel, who was released just three weeks before the attack after having conducted a similar stabbing against the same parade in 2005 – an oversight the police have caught much flak for.
Police forces arrived at the family home late last week searching for Rabbi Idan Grossman, the rabbanit’s husband, who organizes protests against the gay pride parade in Jerusalem.
When they found the rabbi not to be at home, the officers asked his wife to accompany them but she refused – at which point she was dragged dozens of meters to a police car. Her violent arrest did not come until Saturday night.
Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is representing the couple, said on Saturday night, “Jerusalem district police are acting in panic and in hysteria in a goal of covering up their fiasco with Yishai Shlissel.”
“It’s not clear why they’re arresting people who oppose the (gay) pride parade. Is it forbidden to oppose a parade like this?”
The annual gay pride march through Jerusalem has been the source of heated controversy, due to the city’s holy status to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Since the 1990s, gay activist groups have held an annual mega-parade in the largely-secular Tel Aviv. However, in 2002 they began holding a smaller, far more contentious march through Jerusalem, amid bitter opposition from the city’s largely traditional and religious residents.
Unlike the Tel Aviv event, the Jerusalem march is usually met with loud counter-protests. In recent years, however, protests have been smaller as some haredi leaders urged their followers to stay away from what they term the “abomination parade” altogether.