Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Makes First Public Appearance Since He Was Assaulted in His Home

Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich meets with Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog, tells him supporters' prayers helped recover from the attack

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File photo: Chief Rabbi of Argentina, Gabriel Davidovich, speaks at the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, November 8, 2018.
File photo: Chief Rabbi of Argentina, Gabriel Davidovich, speaks at the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, November 8, 2018. Credit: AP

One month after being brutally attacked in his home, Argentina’s chief rabbi appeared in public in a meeting with the head of the Jewish Agency.

Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich received Isaac Herzog at his Buenos Aires home and thanked Jews around the world who expressed concern and offered prayers for him following the assault. 

>>  Read more: 'No clear indication' chief rabbi attack is anti-Semitic, Argentinian minister says ■  Opinion: Jews are making anti-Semitism and victimhood our entire identity

“It has really strengthened us a lot,” Davidovich said. “Health comes from everyone who called, who prayed … we will be fine.”

Herzog, making an official visit to South America, replied that “the phrase ‘All Israel is responsible for each other’ is not just a statement but an act, so I would like to wish you and your family a Happy Passover, with less pain, less worry and more love of Israel.”

Herzog tweeted in Hebrew, Spanish and English that the rabbi is “recovering and was very moved by the outpouring of love from Jewish communities around the world.”

Davidovich was hospitalized with serious injuries, including nine broken ribs and a punctured lung, after a gang broke into his apartment early on the morning of February 25. The assailants also restrained his wife and robbed the apartment.

The attack is not being treated as a hate crime, and reports have indicated that it was a revenge attack arranged by a prominent member of the Jewish community involved in a divorce case adjudicated by the rabbi.

The rabbi and Herzog were scheduled to participate Tuesday afternoon in a public event at the AMIA Jewish center, where Davidovich will affix a new mezuzah (a piece of parchment inscribed with the Jewish prayer "Shema Yisrael" and contained in a case affixed on a doorway ) in the renovated entrance to the building, part of the commemoration of 125 years of the institution.

Herzog also met with Argentina’s education minister, Alejandro Finocchiaro, and secretary of environment, Rabbi Sergio Bergman, and the ministers agreed to increase cooperation against anti-Semitism, hatred and bigotry, while deepening Holocaust studies.

“Great partnership and friendship!” Herzog tweeted following the meeting.

He also is scheduled to memorialize the victims of the March 1992 terrorist attack against the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29.