Rabbi's assailants anti-Semites - or thieves?

Chief Rabbi of Ukraine tells Arutz Sheva that motive for brutal attack might not be anti-Semitism.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

A statue of Stepan Bandera in Lviv, Ukraine
A statue of Stepan Bandera in Lviv, Ukraine
Courtesy of Andrey Syasko

Moshe Asman, the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, told Arutz Sheva Sunday that many details of the attack on Rabbi Menachem Mendel Mordechai Deitsch are still unknown.

Rabbi Deitsch, a Chabad emissary, was found beaten and stabbed at a train station in the Ukrainian city of Zhitomir on Friday and was airlifted to the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Ramat Gan, Israel, where he remains in serious but stable condition.

"I met with him just two days before the incident." Rabbi Asman said of Rabbi Deitsch. "He was very happy."

Local police are investigating all possible motives, including that it may have been an anti-Semitic attack, but Rabbi Asman said that the motive remains unclear as Rabbi Deitsch is still unconscious and the police have not located any witnesses so far. He said it may have been a robbery unconnected to anti-Semitic violence, which is rare in Ukraine.

Rabbi Asman noted that the government of Ukraine recently held a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre and that he has not seen an increase in anti-Semitism in the Ukraine in recent years.


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