The chief rabbi of Argentina survived a brutal beating at the hands of a gang of assailants, with anti-Semitism remaining a potential motive for the attack.
By World Israel News Staff
“I have nine broken ribs, but I’m calm, I’m not afraid, I’m not angry or looking for revenge, I’m one of those [people] who forgive,” commented Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich on Tuesday.
Davidovich spoke to Argentina’s largest newspaper Clarín from Buenos Aires, where he is slowly recovering from serious injuries he sustained during a vicious beating in the early morning hours on Monday in his home
“They hit me, they jumped me up, they kicked me while I was on the floor, then I do not remember anything else,” he added. “I’m weak and taking a lot of medication.”
In addition to broken ribs, the 60-year-old rabbi’s face was badly bruised during an encounter in which thieves reportedly covered his face, kicking and striking him until he lost consciousness.
“I begged them to let me breathe,” the rabbi recounted.
The assailants also attacked the rabbi’s wife. While they did not beat her, they demanded to know where the couple’s valuables were stored, shouting that they knew the rabbi is a Jewish community leader.
Based on statements such as these, anti-Semitism is among the motives that are being investigated with regard to the attack. During the episode, the attackers stole jewelry, silverware, and other valuables, but Davidovich commented he had received no threats prior to the attack.
“It could have been [just] a robbery, or a political issue … I do not know if it was an anti-Semitic attack,” Davidovich told Clarín.
Following the attack, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, communicated by telephone with Davidovich, commenting afterward, “I wanted to console him, in my name and on behalf of all citizens of Israel and Jews [throughout the world], wherever they are.”
The attack followed an anti-Semitic crime over the weekend in a Jewish cemetery in San Luis, a city in northwest Argentina, Times of Israel reported.
A local Jewish community leader told the media that the cemetery’s security cameras were broken before the attack, during which nine gravestones were vandalized.
While Argentina passed anti-discrimination legislation over three decades ago, anti-Semitism is on the rise in the South American nation.