SYDNEY, Australia (Jul. 16)
The Jewish community of New Zealand has expressed shock following what appears to have been an anti-Semitic attack here Monday on Jewish schoolchildren.
A 52-year-old woman wielding a 4-inch vegetable knife attacked children at Auckland’s small Jewish day school, stabbing four of the youngsters. She called out what seemed to be anti-Semitic remarks before carrying out the attack.
The children were scheduled for surgery Monday for their injuries, including punctures to the lungs and stomach, cuts and lacerations.
A spokesman for the New Zealand Jewish community said the condition of all the injured children was stable.
A teacher intervened and was able to wrest the knife from the attacker, but not before the woman had wounded the children. The woman, who has a history of psychiatric illness, entered the school area as the children were arriving for class. A police spokesman said she called out “a Jewish name,” which was not 1 that of any of the pupils at the school, before lunging at the three 6-year-olds, including twins, and one 8-year-old child.
A leader of the Auckland Jewish community said the woman, who is unidentified, was “shouting anti-Semitic remarks,” but, he said, “she is a known psychiatric patient.”
The woman faces an Auckland court Tuesday on four counts of attempted murder. The attack follows by two months the desecration of Jewish graves in the southern city of Dunedin, which appeared to be a copycat act following the May 10 desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Carpentras, France. Auckland is home to half of New Zealand’s 4,000 Jews. The community “has never before been so aware of its vulnerability,” said a community leader, who declined to be named.