Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Square: Context of the arson attack


[...] On May 22, the group’s longstanding complaints about harassment and intimidation by Twersky’s followers were starkly highlighted when Aron Rottenberg, one of its members, almost died in an arson attack on his home. Rottenberg suffered third-degree burns over half of his body when he confronted an intruder carrying a plastic bag full of gasoline and a torch at 4:12 a.m. Shaul Spitzer, the 18-year-old suspect apprehended by police, also suffered serious injuries in their struggle. Both men remain hospitalized, with Spitzer free on $300,000 bond. At the time of the incident, Spitzer worked for Twersky in his home. Rottenberg’s friends and family members say that the 43-year-old local plumber sought only to pray outside the village’s main synagogue, an act that provoked the ire of New Square’s leaders. They say local police and political officials ignored earlier attacks on him and others due to the political clout of Twersky, who directs New Square’s large bloc vote. [....]

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