Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger on Thursday visited a young Jewish man who was brutally beaten by anti-Semites in Ukraine after the Passover Seder.
Aaron Alexander Goncharov was flown to Israel for additional treatment at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv after the Passover Night attack.
Rabbi Metzger said making the visit on Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day – was especially necessary in order to strengthen and encourage Goncharov.
He gave the Goncharov the traditional priestly blessing, and told him that the Jewish world was concerned for his welfare and were praying for him. Goncharov broke into a big smile when Rabbi Metzger promised he would dance at his wedding.
The brutal anti-Semitic attack occurred shortly after the Passover Seder as Goncharov was passing by the local synagogue in Kiev. He was in a coma for two weeks, but in the last two days began to react to external stimuli – and finally regained consciousness.
Doctors described Gonchorov's recovery as a “miracle” and “resurrection.”
Rabbi Metzger was accompanied ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Rabbi Yaacov Silberman, the director of the Jewish Communities of Ukraine, and hospital deputy general director Yitzhak Shapira.
Gonchorov attempted to reconstruct his assault, "Someone hit me from behind when I left the synagogue wearing a skullcap. Then I felt another blow, and another, and shouts.... 'Jew, Jew.' My head hurt very much... I do not remember who gave me the blow."
"I thank the State of Israel, the Israeli people in general, and hospital staff at Ichilov, and ZAKA volunteers in particular for what they have done for me."
"They saved my life. I hope to make Aliyah. Here is the safest place for Jews," Gonchorov said.
Gonchorov is expected to be released from the ICU in coming days in order to begin occupational therapy and rehabilitation.