Two adult workers at a Jewish youth center in Western Ukraine were severely beaten with metal rods.
Several assailants burst into the Shalom Chaverim Center for religious Jewish youth in downtown Lvov on Tuesday afternoon and beat the victims. They also shattered windows and shouted anti-Semitic slogans, including “Kikes leave Ukraine.”
Local Jews and police identified the alleged attackers as neighbors of the Jewish center, Boruch-Nachman Gavrilenko, the leader of the STARS youth program in Lvov, told JTA. The attackers were said to be in their 60s.
Local Jews said it wasn’t the first time the neighbors insulted Jews at the center, but it was the first physical attack.
Police are investigating the case. Jewish leaders have said law enforcement agencies have not responded properly to previous hate incidents, instead calling them hooliganism.
“There is no doubt that this is an act of anti-Semitism and those attackers do not want to see observant Jews meeting at the building,” Meilekh Sheikhet, the Lvov monitor for the Union of Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, an advocacy group, told JTA . “It is possible because some Ukrainian leaders promote xenophobic and anti-Semitic ideas in society.”
Gavrilenko says approximately 30 young Jews attend programs at the center.