'I begged them to let me breathe'

Chief Rabbi of Argentina recalls brutal attack during home invasion. 'They covered my face and kicked me and I lost consciousness.'

David Rosenberg ,

Rabbi Davidovich (left)
Rabbi Davidovich (left)
Avi Ohayon

Following the brutal assault on the Chief Rabbi of Argentina, the victim, Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich recalled the terrifying moments during the home invasion as he was beaten by a gang of seven intruders.

According to a report by Yediot Ahronot Wednesday morning, Rabbi Davidovich said the seven intruders broke into his home in Buenos Aires at approximately 2:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“I woke up startled by the sound of noises in the bathroom next to my bedroom,” the rabbi recalled.

“I went over to the bathroom, only to find myself standing next to a person who had entered the room via the narrow bathroom window which faces the street. I struggled with him, ran to the front door of the house, opened the door and cried for help.”

“At that moment, the rest of the gang came into the house, there were seven of them in total. They forced me to lay down on the floor, facedown. I begged them to let me breathe – they had covered my face and started to step on me and kick me. At that point I lost consciousness.”

After assaulting Rabbi Davidovich, the gang attacked his wife, tying her up and cursing her. Unlike her husband, however, the rabbi’s wife was not beaten during the home invasion.

The 60-year-old rabbi suffered nine broken ribs during the attack, and was evacuated to a local hospital for treatment. He was listed in serious condition following the assault, but was said to be in good spirits when Jewish Agency chairman Yitzhak Herzog called him Tuesday.

"I spoke with Rabbi Davidovich. I gave him comfort. I hugged him. I said that the Jewish people care for him. He is in [a lot of] pain, but he shows resilience and a good mood. He is in the hospital under post-traumatic circumstances," Herzog said.

During the attack, the assailants told Rabbi Davidovich and his wife "We know that you are the rabbi of the Jewish community,” while demanding the couple tell them where they keep their cash and jewelry.

Local authorities say they are considering the possibility that the incident was criminal in nature.

Rabbi Davidovich said he had no idea who would have targeted his home.

“I have no idea who was behind the attack on me. I only know that it was a brutal attack and I don’t negate that it could have been motivated by anti-Semitism.”

The rabbi noted that the perpetrators seemed to know their way around the home.

Two tourists who were standing in the street notified police. When officers arrived, they found the rabbi lying unconscious on the floor.