(JTA) — A Hebrew teacher in Kiev was assaulted in what Jewish community representatives described as a rare and violent anti-Semitic attack.
Four men ambushed the Israel-born teacher, Hillel Wertheimer, on Saturday night at his apartment building after following him home from synagogue services, according to Joseph Zissels, chairman of the Vaad Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine and a vice president of the World Jewish Congress.
Zissels told JTA on Tuesday that three of the four men then punched and kicked Wertheimer in the vestibule of his home. Wertheimer was not severely hurt because the assailants were interrupted by a neighbor who came down to investigate after hearing Wertheimer shout for help, Zissels said.
Wertheimer filed a police complaint Monday. The assailants have not been identified.
Zissels said he believes the assault was anti-Semitic because the attackers did not ask for money and appeared to have selected their target at the synagogue.
World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer called the beating “a vicious act that must not go unpunished.” He said the WJC was closely monitoring the situation.
Meylakh Sheykhet, Ukraine director for the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, told JTA that violent, anti-Semitic attacks are rare in Ukraine, occurring on average once or twice per year.
In October last year, Jewish businessman Dmitry Flekman, 28, told JTA and other media he was tortured and beaten by police officers from the city of Lviv in western Ukraine because he was Jewish.