Italian rabbi faces death threats in antisemitic assault on street in Genoa

Homeless man wielding screwdriver hurls insults at Haim Fabrizio Cipriani, who is unharmed; police intervene and charge assailant

Screen capture from video of Rabbi Haim Fabrizio Cipriani, 2018. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of Rabbi Haim Fabrizio Cipriani, 2018. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An Italian rabbi was verbally assaulted with an antisemitic tirade, including a death threat, from a man wielding a screwdriver on the streets of Genoa, Italy, on Monday.

Haim Fabrizio Cipriani was unharmed and the man, said to be homeless, was detained by police and charged with making racial insults under aggravated circumstances, local media reported.

The Il Secolo XIX outlet reported that the assailant, 58, shouted at Cipriani, “Go away, you dirty Zionist f…, otherwise I’ll open the door for you,” among other insults.

“I am very shocked, but I am not surprised,” Cipriani told The Republic. “As a Jew, I know that these situations can occur.”

He said that following the devastating October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel and the ensuing war, antisemitic attacks are “increasingly probable.”

“Antisemitism has worsened and [it] is widespread throughout the world, even in Italy,” Cipriani said.

Cipriani, 52, said he believes he was targeted because he was wearing a kippa on his head, as he always does, but that it was the first time something like that had happened to him in the city where he was born.

“I will continue to wear it [the kippa],” he told Pagine Ebraiche. “We cannot hide.”

He said he has received support from the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, as well as other Jewish institutions and rabbis of Orthodox communities.

Genoese Jewish community leader Raffaella Petraroli said it was “an unspeakable act” that came against a climate of pro-Palestinian support in the city and “widespread ignorance about what the State of Israel is.”

Cipriani told media he has faced previous antisemitic attacks in France where on two occasions he was “chased by some Arabs.”

Aside from being an ordained rabbi, Cipriani is also an accomplished violin player who has given concerts around the world.

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