(JTA) — A rabbi was assaulted near London in what members of his community say appears not to have been an antisemitic attack.
Two young men gave the rabbi, Rafi Goodwin, cuts on his head an around his eyes Sunday, according to members of his Orthodox synagogue in Chigwell, a town just northeast of London.
“From the description of how the incident started, it does not, at this point appear to be an antisemitic attack,” an email from Goodwin’s congregation said, according to a report by the Jewish News of London. The rabbi is in hospital, the report said, but it did not specify the severity of his injuries.
The incident comes at a time of high alert for many Jewish communities in Western Europe, as they brace for an increase in antisemitic assaults in connection with Israel’s exchange of fire with Hamas in Gaza.
Thousands of people participated in a protest rally Saturday in London, where many demonstrators chanted about a massacre of Jews. On Sunday, multiple cars displaying Palestinian flags drove through Golders Green, a heavily-Jewish part of London. A participant of the convoy shouted through a loudspeaker: “F–k the Jews, rape their daughters” among other chants.
Hostilities connected to Israel have led to surges in antisemitic assaults in Western Europe in recent years.