A Jewish rabbi is in a critical condition after being brutally attacked at the central train station in Zhitomir, Ukraine.
Rabbi Mendel Deitsch was found unconscious and was immediately transported to a local hospital in what was described as “extremely critical condition.” Two doctors have reportedly been brought in from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev to the Zhitomir hospital where Deitsch is currently undergoing an operation.
Initial reports suggest that Deitsch was robbed, viciously attacked and left bleeding in the train station until he was discovered at around 11:00 am local time.
The motive for the attack remains unknown. According to the report, violent anti-Semitic attacks in Ukraine are rare, and there is no indication at this time that the assault was anti-Semitic in nature.
Deitsch, an Israeli citizen, directs hospitality services and programming at the burial site of the founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, located in the Ukrainian village of Haditch. He has previously served Jewish communities in France and Israel, and, according to the report, has been instrumental in aiding Jews of the former Soviet Union.
Zhitomir’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm is said to be with Deitsch in the hospital and is overseeing his care.
“The most important thing at this time,” stated Wilhelm, “is that people pray for [Deitsch’s] full recovery.”