Jewish reporter says he was beaten up and called a Nazi by Orthodox Jews in New York City amid tensions over new coronavirus lockdowns
NBC New York
A Jewish journalist says Orthodox Jews attacked him in Brooklyn.
Jacob Kornbluh, the Jewish Insider's national policy reporter, said he was "hit in the head and kicked by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members" during a protest against restrictions on the coronavirus.
The incident came during protests following a decision by Governor Andrew Cuomo to enforce a local lockdown and close schools and non-essential businesses.
During the protests, hundreds of Orthodox Jews making a campfire out of face masks were on fire in the middle of the street in Brooklyn Borough Park.
Leaders have called for peace in common.
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A Jewish reporter said he was attacked in Brooklyn as tensions mount among Orthodox Jews in New York over the best response to the coronavirus, which has hit the community hard since March.
Jacob Kornbluh, the Jewish Insider's national political reporter, covered the second night of protests on Wednesday in the neighborhood against a new local coronavirus restriction by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Kornbluh, also a religious Jew, warned the close community of the public health dangers of COVID-19.
Kornbluh said a mob instigated by agitators discovered and surrounded him. He said on Twitter that he was "hit in the head and kicked by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members" during a protest in Borough Park, a southwest region of Brooklyn, New York.
He was also called a Nazi and spat at by his attackers.
On Friday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expected the police to be arrested for the attack soon.
Heshy Tischler, an Orthodox pro-Trump Jew and Brooklyn City Council candidate who led the protests, was accused of whipping the crowd against Kornbluh and calling him a "rat".
Kornbluh did not go to the hospital after the incident on Wednesday night, but said he had already filed charges against carpenter, according to NY1.
Business Insider has asked Kornbluh for comments several times.
That same night, a group tracked down and assaulted a freelance Jewish photographer and a third man, the New York Post reported.
Borough Park is one of nine NYC neighborhoods on lockdown to fix localized spikes in coronavirus cases. The lockdown went into effect on Friday.
Orthodox Jewish populations live in all nine districts and the lockdown occurs during the celebration of the High Holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Gatherings in synagogues and yeshivas are subject to strict social distancing restrictions.
Local leaders told the New York Times the surge in infections was due in part to their belief that they had achieved herd immunity and various misinformation about coronavirus spread by President Donald Trump. The president has overwhelming support in the Orthodox community, which has traditionally supported conservative Republican candidates.
At a meeting on Tuesday night in Borough Park, protesters lit a fire and threw cardboard boxes and face masks into the flames, according to NBC New York.
Despite community leaders calling for peace, Orthodox Jews who had warned of the dangers were increasingly targeted in person and on social media with the Yiddish slur of "Moiser" - an informant for the enemies of the Jews and in the traditional belief system, punished with death.
Orthodox Jewish men move a wooden coffin from a hearse at a funeral home in the Borough Park neighborhood where an increase in (COVID-19) patients occurred during the April 5, 2020 pandemic in the Brooklyn neighborhood of New York.
Several leading Orthodox rabbis have spoken out against the dispute within the community and denied the threat posed by the coronavirus.
"This is wild, lawless, uncivilized behavior. Period, disregard for public health measures in a hotspot in the middle of a pandemic? It is the opposite of the verse that says, 'What a wise, sophisticated people this great nation is,'" Rabbi wrote Mayer E. Twersky, a senior teacher at New York's Yeshiva University, in an article on the Israeli news website Arutz Sheva.
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