(JNS.org) The Chabad center in the southeast Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye was firebombed with Molotov cocktails on Monday. The masked perpetrators managed to escape, but their images were caught by security cameras.
Although no one was hurt and the damage to the building was minimal, Chabad Rabbi Nachum Ehrentrau, the chief rabbi of the city and the surrounding region, expressed concern that police would not make it a priority to investigate the incident due to the protests that engulfed the country in the past week, culminating Saturday with the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych by the Ukrainian Parliament.
“Our synagogue is surrounded by a barrier, the doors are all automatic, and we have round-the-clock security staff… In these uncertain times, we are, of course, even more cautious, doing all we can to ensure the safety of the community center and its visitors," Ehrentrau said, Chabad.org reported.
Due to recent events in Ukraine, “On one hand, there are those who are urging people to evacuate. On the other hand, there are those who are minimizing the risks… It is important to remember that the opposition has been in the government for four year, and has kept very good relations with Jewish people and the Jewish community. Yet in a time of chaos and uncertainty, we must keep a low profile and avoid unnecessary friction," Ehrentrau added.
There is no current indication that the perpetrators of the attack were connected to the recent political events in the country. But this is not the first violent incident against the Ukrainian Jewish community since the protests began in November 2013. On Jan. 11, several men attacked Israeli teacher of Hebrew and Jewish tradition Hillel Wertheimer after he left a synagogue at the end of Shabbat. On Jan. 18, a yeshiva student from Russia, Dov-Ber Glickman, was also attacked after he left a synagogue.