Argentina's Chief Rabbi Unsure if Attack Against Him Was anti-Semitic

Assault could have been 'a robbery or a political issue,' said Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich, who also received death threats after ordering a man to give his wife a Jewish divorce

Argentina's Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich delivering a speech at AMIA headquarters in Buenos Aires on April 20, 2018.
AFP

Argentina’s chief rabbi says he isn’t sure if the violent attack on him in his home was anti-Semitic.

“It could have been a robbery or a political issue … I do not know if it was an anti-Semitic attack,” Gabriel Davidovich said Tuesday evening from the hospital in a Whatsapp interview with Clarin, Argentina’s largest newspaper.

Davidovich was hospitalized with serious injuries, including nine broken ribs and a punctured lung, after a gang broke into his apartment at approximately 2 a.m. Monday. The assailants also restrained his wife and robbed the apartment.

Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, expressed his solidarity in a tweet in which also did not label the attack anti-Semitic.

“We repudiate the attack suffered by chief rabbi Gabriel Davidovich in his house. We accompany him in his recovery and he has our support so that the investigation finds those responsible,” Macri tweeted in Spanish.

Some, including the chief Sephardic rabbi of Argentina, Isaac Sacca, believe it was a revenge attack related to his work arranged by a prominent member of the Jewish community that had refused to give his wife a religious divorce, or get. Davidovich had ordered the man to give his wife the get.

“Rabbis need to make many difficult decisions, and sometimes there are decisions which people do not accept, get angry over,” Sacca told The Jerusalem Post.

The Hebrew-language Kikar Hashabbat news website reported that Davidovich received death threats in the wake of the get incident.

But the president of the Argentine political umbrella DAIA and some global leaders see the assault as a sign of anti-Semitism.

Argentine police have opened an investigation into the attack, which followed the vandalism of nine gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in the province of San Luis over the weekend.