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February 27, 2019 4:36 pm

‘I Am Not Afraid,’ Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Says, as He Recovers in Hospital After Brutal Beating

avatar by Ben Cohen

Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich was visited in hospital by the Israeli ambassador in Buenos Aires, Ilan Sztulman (c). Photo: Twitter.

Argentina’s chief rabbi said on Wednesday that he was in physical pain but “calm” and “not afraid” following the brutal attack at his home in Buenos Aires in the early hours of Monday.

Speaking to the Argentine newspaper Clarin from his hospital bed on Wednesday, Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich recalled that he had lost consciousness as the intruders who broke into his home subjected him to a frenzied beating.

“They hit me, they jumped up and down on me, they kicked me while I was on the floor,” the 62-year-old Davidovich said. “Then I do not remember anything else.”

Davidovich said that he was hoping to be released from hospital by the end of this week, and would spend a month recuperating at home.

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The rabbi lamented that his wife Rachel — who was tied up and robbed by the intruders — had been forced to witness the entire beating. “She is the most anguished, the one who feels insecure and the one who has the image of the whole nightmare,” Davidovich said.

Davidovich said he was unclear as to the motive of the attack, which Argentina’s Jewish leadership denounced as an antisemitic act. During the attack, the assailants yelled, “We know you are the AMIA rabbi” — a reference to the AMIA Jewish center in the Argentine capital.

“It could have been a robbery, or a political issue,” Davidovich said. “I do not know if it was an antisemitic attack.” Davidovich’s son, Ariel, added that he was confident the police would catch the intruders, citing the support for the family from prominent Argentine politicians, including Patricia Bullrich, the minister of security.

Quoting an unnamed source close to the police investigation, La Nacion newspaper said that the notion that Davidovich and his wife were the victims of a simple robbery had been dispensed with. “They [the intruders] had the intelligence on him and they brutally beat him, this wasn’t an ordinary case of crime,” the source said.

Davidovich expressed his thanks for “all the calls, the visits and all the prayers for my recovery.”

“I hope to return soon to my rabbinical tasks,” Davidovich added.

Asked if he had a message for his attackers, Davidovich replied, “I’m not angry, I do not want revenge.”

“I’m one of those who forgives,” he said.

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