Tel Aviv - A man suspected of attacking and injuring Nati Grossman, editor in chief of the haredi newspaper HaPeles, was convicted of aggravated assault on Monday by the Jerusalem District Court.
The motivation for the attack was the acrimonious split in the haredi world over the rabbinic leadership of the ultra-Orthodox community and a subsequent battle over control of the leading haredi newspaper Yated Neeman.
Yated Neeman is the mouthpiece for Degel HaTorah, a non-hassidic haredi political party which, along with Agudat Yisrael, forms the United Torah Judaism Knesset Faction.
Grossman was former editor in chief of Yated but was ousted in a takeover by associates of Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman who became the acknowledged leader of the Ashkenazi non-hassidic haredi world after the death of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in July 2012.
Grossman, along with other Yated stalwarts with allegiance to Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, a rival to Shteinman, set up HaPeles to advance Auerbach’s perspective and positions.
The division in the haredi world led to several violent incidents and communal tensions were high.
On December 21, Haim Perelstein, a 21-year old yeshiva student at the Ponevezeh Yehisva in Bnei Brak, and another individual attacked Grossman outside his residence in Bayit VeGan, late at night. Grossman sustained cuts and bruises to his face and several broken fingers.
Perelstein, who pleaded guilty to the charges of aggravated assault, is yet to be sentenced.
Grossman was editor in chief of Yated Neeman for 25 years and was appointed by Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach, who created the Degel HaTorah party and the Yated Neeman newspaper to express its views.
Following the ouster of Grossman, along with Yaakov Labin, the newspaper’s managing director, the former management filed a law suit claiming that the manner in which the new directors took control was illegal.
The Tel Aviv district court dismissed the suit in May this year however and ruled that the takeover was conducted lawfully.