A Muslim man attacked a Chabad rabbi Saturday night as he was conducting the annual ceremony to light the public Chanukah menorah in Stephansplatz Square in the city of Vienna, Austria.
The attacker hurled himself at Rabbi Dov Gruzman, principal of the city’s Jewish school run by the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement, and began punching him, a local resident told Arutz Sheva.
As the rabbi tried to hold off his attacker, the Muslim suddenly bit his victim, severing part of his finger in the process. The Muslim was caught and arrested by police, and was held for questioning. The rabbi was evacuated to the hospital where doctors rushed to reattach his finger.
Gruzman told Arutz Sheva that the Muslim had raced towards the entrance at the beginning of the ceremony and began to curse the Jews who were there and the Jewish people in general.
“I tried to hold him off, to keep him away from the entrance and he bit me really hard, and that’s how he injured me,” he said.
The event itself did not discourage Rabbi Gruzman, and in fact strengthened his resolve. “We are glad that such an event occurred,” he said.
“Today, because of what happened, we are planning [a much larger event]. We increased the number of sufganiot [Chanukah jelly doughnuts] from 50 to 700 – and this is our answer to the attack and to anti-Semitism.”
However, the rabbi himself will be unable to participate in Sunday evening’s ceremony due to the fact that he is still hospitalized, and being monitored for infection from the bite. Nevertheless, he emphasized, through the Chanukah lighting ceremony he sends his blessing to every Jew around the world.