Meron, Israel – A 30-year-old man from Yokneam suffered from light injuries after being stabbed and a family sprayed with tear gas after a man described by police as religious went on the rampage over mixed seating arrangements of men and women who arrived to celebrate a 3-year-old’s birthday at the grave site of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron, near Safed, this evening.
Safed police said that a suspect had been arrested after attempting to flee the area by bus. He was found in possession of a knife and with a tear gas canister attached to his belt.
“He came prepared,” police said, adding that detectives did not know yet why the man was armed.
Earlier, a bus carrying a family with small children arrived at the grave of the revered rabbi, where they proceeded to hold a religious ceremony and set up a temporary shelter.
The suspect complained to the family about the mixing of men and women, and began throwing rocks after the family members did not adhere to his demands. He then produced a knife and stabbed the 30-year-old man in the stomach. The family was also sprayed with tear gas, causing severe discomfort. The stab victim was lightly wounded, requiring medical treatment on the spot.
Safed police sealed off the village and arrested the suspect as he was attempting to board a bus. The stabbing victim identified his assailant.
“We do not know why this suspect arrived at the gravesite with a knife and tear gas. In addition to stabbing a victim, he also caused young children aged three distress,” a spokesman for Safed police said.
Police say the suspect had refused to identify himself, preventing officers from finding out whether he had a criminal past.