By: Jared Evan
The controversial Orthodox activist Heshy Tischler, even after his arrest, is still influencing many ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Boro Park community.
The New York Police Department announced Sunday night that it had taken Tischler into custody and that he had been charged with “inciting to riot and unlawful imprisonment in connection with an assault of a journalist”, JTA reported.
The word quickly spread, after the Simchat Torah holiday ended, and his supporters rallied to his defense and went after their perceived enemy.
Jacob Kornbluh, a reporter for Jewish Insider, has been the target of Tischler’s anti-lockdown protest. The anti-lockdown activists along with their un-elected leader, declared that the reporter was an informant or “moser”.
JTA reported that these accusations in some Jewish legal texts merits the death penalty.
Kornbluh, ran a series of article highlighting the high infection rates in Boro Park and reported on community members not wearing masks.
A supporter of Tischler, posted the reporter’s address on social media according to local media.
JTA reported: crowds formed outside Kornbluh’s apartment building, at a busy intersection in Borough Park, with people in the crowd again shouting the “moser” accusation. In one video posted by a “Tischler fan account” on Twitter, people can be heard shouting, “Shame on you.” Other videos circulating showed a significant police presence amassing outside the apartment building.
A local Orthodox Jew confidentially told the Jewish Voice: “I agree that the lockdowns are draconian and many scientists are against these measures , I feel this community is being targeted, but Heshy is not the kind of person to further our point of view, he is inciting chaos”
The protests against lockdowns began last week after the Governor and Mayor agreed to enforcing lockdowns in zip codes with higher infection rates, mainly Jewish communities, essentially limiting the number of worshippers at shul to 12 people. This sparked major protests last Tuesday and Wednesday.
The outrage was re-ignited after Tischler had announced in a video late Friday that he had been told he would be arrested Monday morning but was arrested immediately after the Holy days ended on Sunday night.
Ironically, the lockdown debate is starting to swing to the anti-lockdown side’s favor. The WHO’s special envoy, on COVID-19, Dr David Nabarro, has urged world leaders to stop using lockdowns as a way to control the virus.