KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian police are investigating at attack on a rabbi in a Kiev street that the man’s wife said on Friday was clearly an anti-Semitic act.
Russia has branded Ukraine’s new authorities as “fascists” backed by anti-Jewish militants in justifying its takeover of Crimea and hostility to those who overthrew the Moscow-backed Ukrainian president last month.
Ukrainian Jewish leaders have said they have generally seen little sign of a growing threat to their community.
Racheli Cohen, wife of rabbi Hillel Cohen, said Thursday’s attack by two men on her husband was clearly an anti-Semitic act. “They struck him in the leg, shouting anti-Semitic slurs,” she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
Kiev police, quoted by Interfax-Ukraine news agency, said they were looking for two men who shouted anti-Jewish insults at the rabbi and struck him with sticks before making off in a car.
Cohen runs the Ukrainian branch of Hatzalah, a worldwide volunteer emergency services group for Jewish communities.
Jewish leaders have warned of a risk of anti-Semitic violence due to general instability in the country.
But many play down the importance of far-right groups that had a role in the uprising, some of which admire nationalists who at times during World War Two joined forces with invading Nazi troops.
Last month, a provincial synagogue was firebombed and there were some assaults on Jews in the streets in previous months.
Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Tom Heneghan