(JNS.org) An unidentified attacker threw a Molotov cocktail at two Israeli rabbinical students in midtown Manhattan in New York City last Friday.
Nineteen-year-olds Yosef Rachimi and Yisrael Gadas, who are studying for a year in a Brooklyn yeshiva, were attacked near the corner of West 37th Street and Ninth Avenue around 1:30 p.m. Friday. They were not injured and spoke about their ordeal with the New York Post on Sunday.
“I’m in complete shock,” Rachimi said through a translator, that “in 2015, an explosive bottle was thrown at a Jew in the streets of New York.”
“It is conceivable that the attacker sees these boys every Friday and prepared this bomb to ambush them. A firebomb is not the kind of thing you have sitting in your car or in your bag unless you have someone to throw it at,” said Barry Sugar, director of the Jewish Leadership Council.
Shopkeeper Shalom Hegazy, who witnessed the assault, said the attacker “lit something in the bottle—I think alcohol.” Hegazy came to the scene and doused the flames with water.
“The bottle broke on the floor, and the fire came up,” he said. “Some people walked by, and they called the Fire [Department].”
While the motive for the attack remains unknown, officers from the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force are investigating the attack. The incident was not the only suspected hate attack against a Jew in New York this past weekend. An Orthodox Jewish mother was pelted with unknown material on Saturday while walking with a baby carriage near the Bangladesh Muslim Center in Brooklyn's Kensington neighborhood on Saturday, according to police. She was not injured.
No arrests have been made yet in either case.