Two people physically attacked worshippers leaving a Jewish center and synagogue in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Friday night and made antisemitic comments during their attack.

Rabbi Uriel Husni, the head of the Mikdash Yosef Jewish center in the capital, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the attack was staged by a man and a woman against worshippers leaving the center in the Palermo neighborhood of the city, as people were leaving following the end of the Friday night Shabbat service.

Most of the congregants, the majority of whom are young men and women, had already left, while Husni remained behind with approximately 10 to 15 people.

According to the rabbi, they then saw a woman who had not been at the prayer service and who was acting strangely exit the Jewish center and shouted at him “Jew, give me food.”

When Husni said he did not have any food, she retorted saying “we need to kill you Jews,” cursed the group in other antisemitic ways, and physically assaulted some members of the group.  

At the same time, a man who appeared to be associated with the woman took out glass bottles from a cardboard box and approached the group threatening to attack them with the bottles.

The rabbi said he stepped in front of the group as did a security guard at the center and came face to face with the assailant who spat in the security guard’s face.

The man then threw some unidentified liquid on the ground and the guard slipped over. One of the  individuals from the group of youths who attended the prayer service went to help him, and the assailant threw a large rock at him, which Husni managed to block with his foot, injuring himself slightly.

A non-Jewish neighbor entered the fray and sprayed pepper spray at the woman, causing her to end her assault and eventually flee.  

The male then ran away with Husni in pursuit. After running for several blocks they encountered the police who briefly detained the man and then released him.

Husni told the Post that he would file a complaint with the police over the attack on Monday morning.

The rabbi said that he was convinced the attack was antisemitic in nature given the antisemitic curses the man and woman hurled at them.

Mikdash Yosef is a Jewish center in Buenos Aires for young Jewish men and women which works both as a Jewish outreach organization bringing young Jews closer to Judaism as well as helping troubled youth who have become involved in drugs and alcohol.  

The AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires said it expressed its “total solidarity,” with the members of the Mikdash Yosef community and demanded that the police and state officials look into the attack.

“Prevention and safety are fundamental pillars not to neglect or neglect at any time and under any circumstances. No situation of hatred, discrimination and violence can be tolerated within the framework of a democratic society,” AMIA said in a statement on its website.

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Date published: 11/04/2019
Written by: Eremy Sharon  
Feature image: A Star of David is seen outside the former Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina at an event to commemorate the 25th anniversy of the building’s destruction by a car bomb, March 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/MARCOS BRINDICCI)
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