BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina’s chief rabbi has said 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, 62, said Tuesday evening from the hospital in a WhatsApp interview with Clarin, Argentina’s largest newspaper.
Davidovich’s son has also cast doubt on Jew-hatred being behind the attack.
“They didn’t say it was anti-Semitic, they just said he was the Jewish community’s rabbi so he must have a lot of money and they beat him up badly,” Aryeh Davidovich told Israel’s Walla news website. “My father is recovering slowly, he’s slowly improving,” he added.
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.
El #GranRabino #Davidovich agradece “los apoyos de solidaridad”@inadi @InfoAMIA #AMIA #Antisemitismo #Argentina #Urgente #UltimoMomento #Primicia #Noticias #BuenMiercoles #Miercoles @DAIAArgentina @Ilan_Sztulman #Netanyahuhttps://t.co/JjDCFBOIra pic.twitter.com/IhD5Vln42R
— Agencia AJN (@AgenciaAJN) February 27, 2019
Aryeh Davidovich described the attack, saying his father had come out of his bedroom after hearing noises. He saw a man and tried to escape by going downstairs.
“Then they started shouting and three more burglars came from downstairs, pushed him on the stairs, beat him, bound him. He lost consciousness. They took my mother and asked for all the money she had, and she gave them everything she had,” Aryeh said.
He said the assailants also bound his mother, but she was unharmed.
Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, expressed his solidarity in a tweet which also did not label the attack anti-Semitic.
“We denounce 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.
Argentine police have opened an investigation into the attack, and investigators are said to have concluded that the rabbi was deliberately targeted.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that the attack was an act of revenge for a marriage annulled by the rabbi a few years prior, according to La Nacion.
The Hebrew-language Kikar Hashabbat news website reported that Davidovich received death threats in the wake of the marriage annulment.
The attack followed the vandalism of nine gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in the province of San Luis over the weekend.