The New York Observer on the Boro Park riots:
During the Giuliani administration, the Orthodox community benefited from a large share of the limited supply of day-care vouchers. After a 1997 protest in which thousands of Borough Park Orthodox rioted when a sheriff tried to impound a Hasidic man’s car, there was a drop in the number of cars towed in the neighborhood for several months, one source said.
When a Mexican worker was killed in a building collapse in 1999, an investigation by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes examined whether Hasidic building contractors got special treatment from City Hall.…
Others, like Mandel Zitronbaum, a heavy-set 25-year-old, took pride in the protests. He said he saw the police confront Mr. Schick. “They were hitting him with sticks,” Mr. Zitronbaum said while sitting at the counter in the Dairy Luncheonette on 48th Street, eating a cheese Danish and then ordering a cheese sandwich. [This is completely inconsistent with Arthur Schick’s “injuries” and could not have happened. One has to wonder whether Schick’s brother Marvin will correct these lies in his next column. I doubt it.] “He started screaming that ‘this is what the Nazis did to me 60 years ago.’”
A woman behind the counter rolled her eyes.
Up the block on 49th Street, at the Famous Schwartz deli, a man with a long, graying beard and yarmulke wrote Passover Seder orders down right to left on a scrap of receipt. Like many of the people walking around Borough Park, he said the protest was really a response to police papering the neighborhood with tickets for parking violations.
“The thing is that here, they are giving tickets right and left. Even if you are sitting in the car, you get one. This is not right. This is why people are so upset. I think in the other neighborhoods, they don’t do this,” he said. “They take advantage here because the people are quiet and nice.”
“I just want to say clearly that the behavior of the young people in our community was a horror, it was inexcusable—I don’t tolerate excuses for anyone,” said Mr. Hikind. But he also said some of the blame rested with the overreaction of the police, especially members of a task force brought in to assist the members of the 66th Precinct. On Monday, videos showing police using aggressive tactics against some of the protesters made their way around the city. “I hope that their tactics to fight terrorism are more effective than what happened in Borough Park,” Mr. Hikind added.
Late Thursday afternoon, things seemed to have settled back to normal at the Bobov Yeshiva on 48th Street. Old men with phylacteries wrapped around their creased foreheads and books fanned opened under their noses sidestepped boys playing tag. Teenagers, many of whom stood on the street corners Tuesday night, taunting police and lighting fires, studied in libraries stacked to the ceiling with leather-bound religious texts.
“Everybody is saying different things. The story is messed up; you can’t get a straight story,” said Israel Solomon, an 18-year-old who had just stepped out of the yeshiva, where he had been studying when the protest broke out. “Everyone was itching for a fight.”
Undemocratic, thuggish behavior. Why? Perhaps because the rabbis who lead them are a bunch of thugs themselves. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.