Wednesday, 18 Sep 2019 - 18 of Elul, 5779

Chabad Rabbi in Argentina recovers after anti-Semitic attack

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BUENOS AIRES—Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, director of Chabad-Lubavitch in the Argentinian city of Rosario, was recovering at home after being attacked by three youths during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

According to neighbors who came to the rabbi’s aid, the attackers shouted anti-Semitic insults at the rabbi and began hitting him in the head and abdomen. They then threw him to the floor, kicked him and trampled his hat before fleeing.

The attack drew widespread criticism from around Argentina as the number and violence of anti-Semitic incidents in the country is on the rise. In 2017, anti-Semitic incidents rose by 14 percent in 2017 over the previous year, according to a DAIA report, the most recent national statistics.

Last February, several assailants entered the home of the country’s Chief Rabbi,  Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich in the traditionally Jewish Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Once and beat him after shouting, “We know you are the rabbi of the AMIA,” referring to the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, one of the country’s most prominent Jewish groups.

The AMIA headquarters building was the target of the country’s worst terrorist attack in June 1994 – a bombing that killed 85 people and injured hundreds. Prosecutors have blamed the attack on officials of the Iranian government and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.

Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who investigated the AMIA bombing after the original trial failed to produce results, was found dead from a gunshot wound in his bathroom in January 2015. Days earlier he had accused former president Cristina Kirchner of conspiring with Iran to deflect an investigation into the bombing.

Argentina’s Jewish population of about 200,000 is the largest in Latin America and the third-largest in the Americas after the United States and Canada.

Ten days ago, a swastika was spray-painted on a Jewish-owned hair salon in Buenos Aires. Neo-Nazi pamphlets were also distributed in the area near the salon. In another incident, a cantor was attacked while returning home from Shabbat services.

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