BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) – The chief rabbi of Argentina was brutally assaulted by a gang of people who entered his home before dawn on Monday.
The attackers broke into the apartment in the Jewish neighborhood in Once in Buenos Aires at around 2 am shouting: “We know that you are the AMIA (Jewish centre) rabbi,” and then beat him.
Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich was hospitalized with serious injuries, including nine broken ribs, according to Jewish political umbrella DAIA President Jorge Knoblovits.
His wife was home at the time of the incident. The attackers restrained her and stole money and belongings from the apartment.
The attack was a “brutal anti-Semitic aggression,” DAIA said in a statement issued on Monday night. The statement, signed by Knoblovits said that the attack “is framed on the anti-Semitic events that are taking place in different European countries, which threaten coexistence and democratic values.”
A statement issued by AMIA condemns the attack but does not specifically call it anti-Semitic.
“The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is shocked and incensed by the brutal attack” WJC CEO and Executive Vice-President Robert Singer said Monday. “It is not yet clear whether this was a targeted crime of hateful anti-Semitism or a barbaric criminal act, but we trust that the authorities will continue to do everything in their power to determine the motive and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement issued on Tuesday morning in Israel sent wishes for a quick recovery to the rabbi and his wife. “We must not let anti-Semitism rear its head. I strongly condemn the recent acts of anti-Semitism and call on the international community to take action against it,” Netanyahu said.
“Today the leaders of the world in Europe, in South America, all over are failing in their responsibility to learn the lessons of the past. But unlike the past, today we have Israel, and every Jew around the world must know they have a home here; we are waiting,” Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.
“But for Jews who want to live in Argentina, or France, or England, or the U.S. or anywhere, we are also here. We will stand up against anti-Semitism. A strong Israel is the only answer – our enemies should know, Jewish blood is not cheap,” he added.
“We must relentlessly fight this disgusting hatred,” Jewish Agency chair Isaac Herzog said. “The Jewish Agency together with the Government of Israel and other Jewish organizations will embark on a battle against the alarming rise of anti-Semitism across the globe.”
Davidovich has served as chief rabbi since 2013. The office of the rabbinate is located in the AMIA building in Buenos Aires.