Rabbi Alter Yaakov Schlesinger, a Chasidic rabbi, was stabbed multiple times on June 12 while he was standing in front of a bank in London, multiple news outlets reported.
The Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported that an unidentified man in his 40s began to stab Schlesinger, who is in his 50s, with a 7-inch knife until two construction workers restrained the assailant. Schlesinger has been hospitalized and is reportedly in stable condition. The suspect has been arrested.
— SussexFriendsofIsrael (@SussexFriends) June 12, 2020
Law enforcement currently is investigating a possible hate crime motive into the attack, but are not classifying the incident as a terror attack at this time. Some witnesses said that Schlesinger was targeted because of his religion.
“I’m Jewish myself, and I can see another Jewish man shouting, ‘Hold him, catch him, he’s got a knife! Stabbing!’” construction site manager Lazar Friedlander, who was one of men who witnesses said restrained the suspect, told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper website. “There were a couple of other people trying to grab him. Me and my brother managed to force him down and put his hands behind his back until the police came.”
He added: “I wouldn’t call myself a hero. You act in the heat of the moment.”
StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson tweeted, “Please don’t be more outraged by statues of historic racists than you are about the ones who seek to kill those different from them today.”
Stabbed to the body and head because he is a Jew.
Please don’t be more outraged by statues of historic racists than you are about the ones who seek to kill those different from them today. https://t.co/81mDZkrmic
— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) June 12, 2020
British pro-Israel researcher David Collier also tweeted that Schlesinger was reportedly attacked “in an area were local MPs [members of parliament] have called anti-Semitism ‘a smear’ against the left. A dangerous rise in anti-Semitism + a loss of control on our streets = real trouble.”
Orthodox Jewish man has been stabbed in Hackney in an apparent antisemitic attack
In an area were local MPs have called antisemitsm 'a smear' against the left
A dangerous rise in antisemitism + a loss of control on our streets = real trouble.
— David Collier (@mishtal) June 12, 2020
In February, the Community Security Trust (CST), an anti-Semitism watchdog, released a report stating that there were 1,805 anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom in 2019, a 7% increase from 2018.
“2019 was another difficult year for British Jews and it is no surprise that recorded anti-Semitic incidents reached yet another high,” CST chief executive David Delew told Britain’s The Guardian’s newspaper website. “It is clear that both social media and mainstream politics are places where anti-Semitism and racism need to be driven out, if things are to improve in the future.”