Dutch prosecutors drop charges against suspect in rabbi’s alleged beating

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Prosecutors in the Netherlands do not intend to prosecute a man who is said to have beaten a rabbi at a department store, they say, prompting the rabbi to mull filing an appeal.

Herman Loonstein, the lawyer of Rabbi Aryeh Leib Heintz, announces the former suspect’s release and Heintz’s “dismay.” The RTV broadcaster reports that the prosecutors had no evidence against the man, who turned himself in on March 31 after news of the alleged assault broke.

“The antisemitic motive [of the suspect] is very clear,” Loonstein writes in a statement. The ex-suspect, aged 40, has been free since April 2, when police released him following his detention over the alleged assault of Heintz in Utrecht on March 29.

Heintz’s complaint to police alleges that the ex-suspect told the rabbi he had no business being at the shopping center “while being dressed like a Jew” before allegedly beating the rabbi on his head.

The prosecutors’ decision not to prosecute the man follows news that antisemitic incidents reached an all-time record in 2023 due to a 245% increase over the previous record year, which was 2022.

Bas Belder, a European Parliament lawmaker form the Netherlands, condemns the decision as “unacceptable” and a case of “ignoring Jew-hatred,” he writes on X.

The Utrecht prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Times of Israel.

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