NYPD arrests organizer of Orthodox Jewish protests against COVID-19 restrictions

NYPD arrests organizer of Orthodox Jewish protests against COVID-19 restrictions
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Harold "Heshy" Tischler, a high-profile Orthodox Jewish activist, was arrested Sunday night on charges related to inciting a riot and assaulting a journalist.

"The New York City Police Department Warrant Squad has taken Harold 'Heshy' Tischler into custody. He will be charged with inciting to riot and unlawful imprisonment in connection with an assault of a journalist that took place on October 7, 2020 in Brooklyn," the NYPD said on Twitter.



Tischler, along with members of the Orthodox Jewish community in New York, had been protesting Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoMayor of Denver apologizes for holiday travel after advising residents to stay put Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Denver mayor flies to Mississippi for Thanksgiving after advising against travel MORE's (D) new measures limiting gatherings in places of worship for areas identified as COVID-19 clusters.

Jacob Kornbluh, a reporter for Jewish Insider, said on Twitter that he was "brutally assaulted" on Wednesday after Tischler recognized him and ordered crowds of people to chase him down the street.

Soon after his arrest, Tischler's Twitter account shared Kornbluh's address, causing a crowd of Tischler's supporters to swarm around his home, according to a report by the Gothamist, which said the crowd did not disperse until 2 a.m. on Monday.

Tischler is running for a seat on the New York City Council and has been highly critical of coronavirus safety guidelines.

Though some members of the Orthodox Jewish community have painted Cuomo's actions as anti-Semitic, the New York Jewish Agenda, a social justice organization focused on fighting anti-Semitism, has called for cooperation and compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

"Asking all of us to wear masks, to observe social distancing and avoid large congregate gatherings is not an anti-Semitic act on the part of our city and country in the attempt to save lives," said the group's co-founder, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum.