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Stop suing haredi firebrand, Antwerp bar chief tells Jewish lawyer

THE HAGUE (JTA) — The president of Antwerp’s bar association advised a Jewish lawyer to stop suing Moshe Friedman, a haredi Orthodox Jew who has stirred controversy in the community.

Association President Dirk Grootjans said last month that he told attorney Henri Rosenberg to drop such cases for “fear that he cannot distance himself from emotions” regarding Friedman, who angered many local Jews in January when he obtained an injunction forcing a haredi all-girls school to enroll his two sons. The injunction has been lifted but Friedman’s lawsuit is being reviewed.

Friedman, a vocal anti-Zionist, also filed to enroll his girls at a Zionist yeshiva for boys after no Jewish school would enroll his children.

After the enrollment, Rosenberg called for child welfare authorities to probe the Friedmans, whom Rosenberg also reportedly accused of withholding rent and other debts.  Friedman has denied the charges and accused Rosenberg of falsifying documents, among other accusations, in what Friedman described as a libel attempt against him.

Contacted by JTA, Rosenberg declined to comment on the issue.

In his letter to Friedman’s lawyer, the president of the Antwerp bar association wrote actions attributed to Rosenberg were “inappropriate for a lawyer.”

Even before the enrollment, many community members had resented Friedman, who in 2006 met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran at a conference that featured caricatures denying and ridiculing the Holocaust.

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