Boris Fuchsmann and Josef Zissels, both vice-presidents of the World Jewish Congress, said the community believed the beating to be the result of anti-Semitic incitement and extremist activity seen in Kiev in recent days, including a torchlight march by supporters of the anti-Semitic partySvoboda on 1 January.
A group of at least four thugs beat teacher Hillel Wertheimeron Saturday night after following him home from synagogue services. Zissels, the head of the VAAD of Ukraine, said that three of the four men then punched and kicked Wertheimer in the vestibule of his home. A neighbor had come down to investigate after hearing Wertheimer shout for help and the teacher had now recovered from the beating, Zissels told JTA.
“Nowadays, the beating of a defenseless Jewish school teacher is a culmination of anti-Semitism. The Ukrainian government must take tough measures to prevent such incidents in future. I also hope for that the representatives of Western states will react to this incident,” Boris Fuchsmann, president of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, declared in reaction to the attack.
Communal officials met with state security services in order to seek more police protection for Jewish communal buildings. Swastikas have been daubed in Jewish areas recently. Another meeting was planned for Wednesday with the US ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey R. Pyatt.
The VAAD of Ukraine and the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine are the WJC’s local affiliates.
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