Tensions are high this week in New York City's Orthodox Jewish community over the arrest of a high-profile radio host, anti-lockdown activist, and City Council candidate named Heshy Tischler. He is charged with inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment after a crowd of his supporters went after a journalist. Coverage:
- The background: Tischler has long been chafing against city and state officials for coronavirus restrictions in his neighborhood of Borough Park. A profile at New York says he reached "folk-hero status" in June when he showed up at a playground with bolt cutters and cut the chains, a move that drew national attention. "It's all part of the Heshy show," per the profile, referring to his ubiquitous social media posts and videos.
- The incident: Last week, simmering tensions over newly tightened COVID restrictions boiled over. Here is how NPR describes the scene at an Oct. 7 protest led by Tischler, based on video posted to social media: "A maskless Tischler and others are seen encircling and screaming at Jacob Kornbluh, a journalist for Jewish Insider who has reported on the resistance to the COVID-19 restrictions."