Genoa, Italy
Genoa, ItalyiStock

An Italian rabbi was verbally assaulted in the city of Genoa by a screwdriver-wielding man who directed an antisemitic tirade, including a death threat, at him.

The incident took place on Monday, according to reports. The rabbi, Haim Fabrizio Cipriani, was unharmed. The assailant, said to be homeless, was detained by police and charged with making racial insults under aggravated circumstances.

One report said that the suspect shouted at Rabbi Cipriani, “Go away, you dirty Zionist f…, otherwise I’ll open the door for you,” among other insults.

Rabbi Cipriani, 52, said he believes he was targeted because he was wearing a kippah on his head, as he always does, but that it was the first time something like that had happened to him in the city where he was born.

"This encounter was extremely distressing. Particularly here in Genoa, we're grappling with an increasingly hostile environment. Although I'm deeply shaken, I'm not surprised. Being Jewish, I'm aware that such incidents are possible and they seem to be becoming more probable of late,” he was quoted by Ynet as having said.

“Post October 7, there's been a noticeable escalation in anti-Semitism. It's a problem that's not confined to any one region; it's global, even prevalent in Italy. These days, Israel is often used as a pretext for antisemitism, but let's be clear: antisemitism is a form of baseless hatred. It's my first personal encounter with antisemitism on Italian soil, and it has left me concerned for my children," added Rabbi Cipriani.

The European Jewish Congress and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) said they expressed their full solidarity with Rabbi Cipriani following the attack.

The incident comes amid a sharp rise in incidents of antisemitism across the globe in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas.

Last month, Italian officials launched an investigation into dozens of antisemitic incidents in Milan, including one in which called for killing Jews in the bathroom of a nightclub.

Several days ago, Belgian police launched an investigation after 85 Jewish graves were vandalized in the city of Charleroi, with Stars of David emblems stolen from the gravestones. Only graves in the Jewish section of the cemetery were vandalized, indicating an antisemitic hate crime.

Amid the spike in antisemitic attacks, thousands took part in a rally against antisemitism in London this past weekend.