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Orthdox Jewish anti-masker calls NYC health officials Nazis and liars at public meeting

An Orthodox Jewish man shut down a press conference in Brooklyn on Friday as New York City health officials attempted to address the community about a troubling spike in coronavirus cases. 

Radio host Heshy Tischler heckled the event, branding the officials liars and comparing them to Nazis, as he claimed that he needed to interrupt the event to tell the real truth about the alarming clusters. 

Tischler was repeatedly asked to wear a mask but refused as he interrupted the conference until it was eventually called off. 

He was joined by a man The Gothamist identified as Borough Park resident Heshy Brach who also shouted at city officials and told them to go back to their own neighborhoods.  

Radio host Heshy Tischler heckled the event in Borough Park, Brooklyn, on Friday

Radio host Heshy Tischler heckled the event in Borough Park, Brooklyn, on Friday

'All you have is your violent Nazi storm troopers coming in here,' Tischler said

‘All you have is your violent Nazi storm troopers coming in here,’ Tischler said

There has been a recent spike in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City

There has been a recent spike in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City 

‘Go to East New York,’ he said. ‘I’ll bring you some n—-rs, I’ll throw you some rocks. You want antifa here?’

The men crashed a COVID-19 awareness meeting being held by NYC Health Commissioner David Chokshi, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi and Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city’s Test & Trace program, who are concerned about the surge in cases in predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. 

Yet as soon as the event began, Tischler began to shout out. The event was eventually called off after 20 minutes when he refused to stop interrupting the speakers. 

‘Forty percent of the tests are incorrect number one,’ he claimed. 

‘You’re saying it’s tripled but if you come to any of my two hospitals in the neighborhood, there’s one coronavirus patient. Where are all these people? Maybe we’re at home maybe, we’re hiding them somewhere in the basement so you can’t see them but I haven’t seen them. 

‘You and I know that 40 percent or 50 percent of test results are wrong so your update numbers are wrong,’ Tischler continued. 

‘How come I don’t see you at testing booths all over? Instead all you have is your violent Nazi storm troopers coming in here. I’m gonna say what I want and they’re coming in to violate us.’

The radio host recorded the whole altercation on his phone, as did Brach who then interuppyed after a member of the city’s team tried to give him a mask to wear.    

‘Get away from me if you don’t like it,’ he answered. 

‘You don’t live here, show me your address, show me your driver’s license. Get the f** out of here, I pay your paycheck. 

‘Go home go to your nice house somewhere. It’s my freedom I don’t have to wear your mask.’

Dr. Long said that he wished to answer their questions and gave a brief summary.   

‘Thankfully we have not seen the same uptick yet that we did when coronavirus hit in March and April,’ he began. 

‘That means we have time to act now. We’re here today because as you said, if we do everything I said the virus would be suppressed in this community fairly quickly. We can do this together. 

Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city's Test & Trace program, attempted to answer the men

Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city’s Test & Trace program, attempted to answer the men

Tischler interupted the awareness event branding city health officials as liars

Tischler interupted the awareness event branding city health officials as liars

Tischler continued to interrupt until the events was called off

Tischler continued to interrupt until the events was called off

‘The second questions was the troops we are bringing in. We’re bringing in 12 new mobile units on Tuesday of this coming week,’ Dr. Long continued. 

‘And your third question was a vaccine. To the extent that its our purview, we’re going to make it equitably available to everybody as soon as humanly possible.’

The meeting then attempted to continue and take further questions from the crowd but Tishcler interrupted again. 

‘It’s a privilege that you should be here,’ he says to one person in the crowd.   

‘He can not say stuff without proof so I will answer too. You can’t say stuff without proof. Less then .5 percent of the city of New York  had coronavirus, .5 percent. 

‘They lie. I don’t know why they’re lying. What are you doing to your brothers and sisters,’ he added as the event was shut down.  

The ugly scene unfolded in Borough Park, one of the areas in the new ‘Ocean Parkway Cluster’ that has seen a surge in cases despite the relatively low numbers on average in New York.  

Borough Park resident Heshy Brach also interrupted and shouted at officials

Borough Park resident Heshy Brach also interrupted and shouted at officials

The event was intended to raise awareness in the Orthodox Jewish community

The event was intended to raise awareness in the Orthodox Jewish community

On Thursday, the New York City Health Department threatened to shutter non-essential businesses in those neighborhoods as early as next week if the number of coronavirus infections did not fall.  

‘For the first time in the city’s recovery period, there could be the immediate scaling back of activities in these ZIP codes if progress is not made by next Monday evening,’ a statement from the Department read. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio also noted the uptick in those neighborhoods and stated: ‘It’s something we have to address with a very aggressive public health effort right away’. 

Dr Mitch Katz, the CEO of New York City’s public healthcare system, said the city would distribute masks, gloves and hand sanitizer while officials will ask religious leaders to reinforce key public health messages.  

Robocalls in English and Yiddish and sound trucks will urge residents to physically distance and wear a face covering, Katz said.  

On Friday, NYC Health Commissioner David Chokshi opened the press conference by warning that the uptick in parts of Queens and Brooklyn was ‘the most precarious moment since we came out of lockdown’. 

“We know that no area of New York City has herd immunity,” Katz, who is Jewish and grew up in the Ocean Parkway area, later added. 

“Herd immunity occurs when more than 80 percent of people are immune and that protects everyone.” 

City officials have been accused of anti-Semitic bias, however, for targeting the communities.

‘For the last six months, the de Blasio administration has limited their COVID communication with the Orthodox community to threats, fines, and violations,’ said Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, whose district includes Gravesend and Midwood. 

‘Now, when education is needed, they are finally reaching out, again, with intimidation and threats.’ 

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