Rabbi Attacked by Soccer Fans in Vienna
A rabbi was attacked over the weekend in Vienna, Austria, by local soccer fans.
According to local media reports, the fans, who were on their way to a game, met Rabbi Schlomo Hoffmeister and screamed at him, “Move, Jew - Jews out, Heil Hitler.” According to the rabbi, they also saluted with the Nazi salute.
Rabbi Hoffmeister claimed that police officers standing nearby refused to intervene. When he asked for their help, they reportedly replied, “It’s just soccer.”
Local police later said they will investigate the claims and will work to catch both the police officers and the fans who were involved in the incident.
“Anti-Semitic insults in the streets of Vienna are commonplace, but when it happens in front of the police, it is unprecedented. The fact that [the officers] did nothing about it and even smiled is an experience that left me in shock,” said Rabbi Hoffmeister.
The leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), Heinz-Christian Strache, recently came under fire after posting a cartoon on Facebook, likened to anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda.
Strache posted a caricature of a banker with a hooked nose, wearing Star of David cufflinks, accompanied by a comment decrying "EU banking speculators" for taking tax money from Austrians.
The Jewish community, as well as Austrian politicians from both center-left and conservative parties, condemned the cartoon.
In June, 43 graves in two Jewish sections of Vienna’s main cemetery were desecrated.
Local police said that tomb stones and slabs were found toppled or damaged at the Austrian capital’s Central Cemetery. The vandals did not deface the graves with graffiti.
Last week, a clearly recognizable Jew, wearing a yarmulka, and his 6-year-old daughter, were attacked in Berlin, Germany, by four suspected Arab youths.
The 53-year-old rabbi was beaten on the head after being asked whether he was a Jew. The attackers shouted anti-Semitic epithets and insults about the rabbi's mother while beating the rabbi. They also reportedly threatened to kill his small daughter.
The rabbi's injuries were severe enough to require outpatient treatment at a local hospital.