London police officer
London police officeriStock

Two men have been arrested in the attack of a rabbi near London in what police called a hate crime, JTA reported on Wednesday.

The suspects, aged 18 and 25, were arrested Monday “in connection with a religiously aggravated assault in Chigwell,” a police spokesperson was quoted as having told The Sun newspaper.

The arrest came a day after the assault of Rabbi Rafi Goodwin near his synagogue. The suspects hurled anti-Semitic insults at the rabbi and allegedly stole his phone. The rabbi suffered moderate injuries and was hospitalized.

On Tuesday, Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary of the U.K. government, said the assault of Rabbi Goodwin was part of a major uptick in antisemitic incidents in the country coinciding with hostilities between Hamas and Israel.

On Sunday, the same day as the assault on Rabbi Goodwin, British police arrested four men over a viral video showing a group shouting anti-Semitic abuse from moving vehicles.

The video posted online showed a convoy of cars bearing Palestinian Arab flags driving through a Jewish community in north London and broadcasting rape threats against Jewish women and other anti-Semitic messages from a megaphone.

There has been an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain in recent years. In February, a report on anti-Semitism in Britain found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Britain has fallen from record levels but still remains high.

The Community Security Trust (CST), which advises Britain’s Jews on security matters, said there had been 1,668 incidents in 2020, a fall of 8% from the previous year which had been the highest on record.

Despite the decrease, however, the CST said it was still the third-highest number they had reported since the data was first collected in 1984.

In 2019, the number increased for the fourth consecutive year, reaching a record tally of 1,805 cases.

Overall, the increase over 2018 was of 7%, but the category of assault increased by 27% to 157 incidents.