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February 26, 2019 11:24 am

‘Where There Is Ignorance, There Is Space for Antisemites’: Argentine Jewish Leader Denounces Brutal Assault on Chief Rabbi

avatar by Ben Cohen

Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich speaking in Buenos Aires. Photo: AMIA.

The condition of Argentina’s chief rabbi, Gabriel Davidovich, was reported to be slowly improving on Tuesday, one day after he was brutally beaten in an attack at his home that is being investigated as a possible antisemitic hate crime.

The 62-year-old rabbi and his wife were confronted by seven intruders at their home in Buenos Aires at around 2 a.m. Monday morning. They allegedly yelled at Davidovich, “We know you are the AMIA rabbi” — a reference to the AMIA Jewish center in the Argentine capital — as they rained down blows upon his head and body. The rabbi’s wife was intimidated and restrained but not physically harmed as the intruders stole money and other valuables from the couple.

Davidovich is presently recovering at a Buenos Aires medical center, having suffered facial bruising, nine broken ribs and damage to one of his lungs during the frenzied assault.

Jorge Knoblovits — president of the Argentine Jewish communal organization DAIA —  denounced what he called an “antisemitic act.”

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Stating on Tuesday that the robbery of the rabbi’s home was a “distraction” and not “the main objective of the attack,” Knoblovits emphasized that Davidovich had been deliberately targeted because he was Jewish. The rabbi had been kicked and punched by all seven intruders, despite not having put up any physical resistance, Knoblovits said. He added that the attack should be seen in the context of “similar events that are taking place in the world.”

“In the world, there is a lot of room for ignorance, and where there is ignorance, there is space for antisemites,” Knoblovits said.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri said he “denounced” the attack on Davidovich, but did not identify it as antisemitic in nature. “We are with him as he recovers and he has our support for an investigation to find those responsible,” Macri said on Tuesday.

The attack on Davidovich and his wife occurred just one day after seven graves were desecrated with Nazi symbols at a Jewish cemetery in San Luis in western Argentina.

Israeli and Jewish leaders around the world decried Monday’s attack. Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog declared that it was “imperative we fight against the human garbage who are driven by their hatred of Jews.”

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said on Twitter that Davidovich’s ordeal had “sent shock waves around the Jewish world.”

“It is devastating to see such violence, particularly at a time when antisemitism is on the rise across the world,” Mirvis said..




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