Slovak Official Apologizes for Attack on American Rabbi

The foreign minister of Slovakia has written a letter of apology to a representative of the World Jewish Congress for an attack perpetrated on a rabbi in Bratislava.

But Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik, who was replying to a letter of protest by WJC Eastern European President Leslie Keller, denied the attack had anti-Semitic goals.

He described it as “an individual act which does not reflect the real relations between members of the Jewish community and citizens of my country.”

Rabbi Baruch Mayers, a 29-year-old American rabbi, was assaulted Sept. 5 by three teen-agers in the street. He was shaken but unharmed. The attackers, ages 14 through 17, were subsequently apprehended.

The foreign minister wrote that the youths have shown that “it was not a manifestation of hatred against Jews but a case of inexperience and thoughtlessness on the part of a few young people.”

In his letter, the foreign minister told Keller, “As a member of the government of the Republic of Slovakia, I assure you, on my and my government’s behalf, that we are taking the necessary measures to avoid similar incidents in the future.

“Efforts on the part of the Slovak authorities to solve this sad case as soon as possible are also shown by the fact that the perpetrators of this act, which is to be condemned, were identified and arrested in a short time.”

The foreign minister then invited Keller to Slovakia to “show you the coexistence of the various religious groups and national minorities in everyday life.”

Keller said he has accepted the invitation and will go to Slovakia in October.

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