Calls for Protection Rise After Attack in Moscow

International

By Marc Perelman

Published January 20, 2006, issue of January 20, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

After last week’s stabbing attack in a Moscow synagogue — the worst antisemitic attack the country has seen in years — the Russian Jewish community is calling on its government to step up efforts to protect Jewish institutions and prosecute hate crimes.

A knife-wielding skinhead burst into Moscow’s Chabad-run Bronnaya synagogue January 11 shouting “I will kill Jews” and “Heil Hitler” before stabbing at least eight men. Yosef Kogan, the synagogue rabbi’s 18-year-old-son, wrestled him to the ground. Kogan held the assailant, 20-year-old Alexander Koptsev, until police detained him.

Koptsev has been charged with racially motivated attempted murder. On January 13, authorities quoted him as saying he stabbed the Jews during evening prayer because “they live better.” Reportedly the assailant also will be charged with actions aimed at humiliating religious groups.

Koptsev was reportedly a loner who wrote and read antisemitic rhetoric and had cased several other synagogues in the Russian capital before choosing his target. So far, authorities have not discovered any connections to a group or other individuals.

On Friday, a separate attack on a synagogue in southern Russia was thwarted.

Russian Jewish communal officials, who have long complained that antisemitic incidents are mostly treated as “hooliganism” by authorities, are scheduled to meet next week with president Vladimir Putin to discuss proposals to bolster security around synagogues, schools and other Jewish buildings. They are also expected to press for more stringent hate crimes legislation.

“We have a rise of nationalism and fascism in this country,” said Avraham Berkowitz, executive director of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS. “This is the first time where there was unequivocally an act of antisemitism in the eyes of the government and they seem willing to act.”

Russian officials, including Putin, have severely condemned the attack, which has been covered widely by the state-controlled media. Police began patrols around Jewish sites over the weekend after the attack.

Putin has a close relationship with one of Russia’s two chief rabbis, the Chabad-affiliated Berel Lazar. The Jewish community is hoping that this bond will help produce concrete measures against neo-Nazi groups and individuals.

Russian Jewish leaders met with the country’s Interior minister and with the U.S. ambassador, Berkowitz said. He added that Jewish organizations are also in touch with representatives of other minority groups to coordinate their calls for more diligent action by law-enforcement authorities and state prosecutors in dealing with xenophobic and racist crimes.

In addition to pressing the authorities to take more action, the Federation of Jewish Communities also has set up a new security fund. The goal is to raise $1.2 million to equip all Jewish institutions with security devices such as metal detectors.






Find us on Facebook!
  • The rose petals have settled, and Andi has made her (Jewish?) choice. We look back on the #Bachelorette finale:
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.