Shot Dagestan rabbi in stable condition after flight to Israel

Shot Dagestan rabbi in stable condition after flight to Israel

Ovadia Isakov transferred to Petah Tikva after being attacked by gunman in Dagestani capital of Derbent; anti-Semitism suspected as motive

Ovadia Isakov and his family (photo credit: via Facebook)
Ovadia Isakov and his family (photo credit: via Facebook)

A Chabad rabbi shot by a suspected terrorist in Russia Thursday was in serious but stable condition after being flown to Israel for treatment.

Ovadia Isakov, 40, the chief rabbi of Derbent, in the Republic of Dagestan, was returning from performing ritual slaughter for kosher meat when a gunman opened fire on him. Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that Isakov’s overt Jewish identity “is among the possible motives investigators are considering for the attack.”

After undergoing surgery in Derbent, Isakov was flown to Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital in a flight chartered by Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, together with the international unit of the Israeli ZAKA emergency service team, according to a report on

Isakov, a native of Derbent, suffered wounds to his liver and right lung, according to police reports cited in the Forward. He was listed in serious but stable condition, according to the Chabad website.

The acting president of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov, blamed the attack on “extremists and terrorists,” saying the majority Muslim republic on the Caspian Sea was “greatly angered by them.”

Police were still searching for the suspect as of late Thursday. They had reportedly narrowed the list to one of three possible attackers.

Isakov was attacked once before, in 2007, when his home was vandalized while his family slept, according to the Chabad website.

Following the attack, Lazar said this was not the first attack of its kind on religious figures and called on Dagestani authorities to eliminate the “jihadist underworld.”

“There is not and can be no compromise with terrorists: The state is not only entitled to but also obliged to use all means available against them,” he said.

Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic movement that places an emphasis on Jewish outreach, has emissaries in cities around the world.

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