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Netherlands Rabbi Injured in Brazen Anti-Jewish Assault

UPDATE April 1, 2024: An arrest has been made in relation to this case; more here.

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A rabbi was struck on the head in an antisemitic attack at the Overvecht Shopping Center in Utrecht on Friday, according to local authorities.

Utrecht Police said that they were looking for witnesses into an incident in which a man attacked another after shouting discriminatory slurs. A Friday post shared on Rabbi Aryeh Leib Heintz’s Facebook page identified the Chabad emissary as the victim. 

“Why are you dressed like a Jew,” the attacker said, according to Whitney Sieverink-McNair’s post.

Heintz reportedly fled into an Action supermarket but was pursued. Sieverink-McNair said that when the rabbi attempted to take a picture of his assailant, he was ejected from the store because photography was against store policy.

The BIJ1 political party claimed on Saturday that two women of Moroccan extraction intervened, adding that “only by fighting together against injustice can we create a just world free from injustice and all forms of oppression.”

The Utrecht City Council, in a Saturday statement, expressed “disgust and disapproval” of the antisemitic incident and wished the rabbi and his family well.

“There is no place in Utrecht for hatred because of who someone is or what someone believes,” said the city council. “Our city is a place of freedom, safety and respect.”

The Denk political party said Saturday that it was “disgusting to do violence to someone because of their religion,” and that “There is no place for antisemitism, Muslim-hate or any form of discrimination in Utrecht.”

BIJ1 also said that it hoped “that everyone who speaks out against antisemitism will be equally vocal about instances of Islamophobia, queerphobia, racism and ableism.”

The European Jewish Congress said Saturday that the situation in Europe and around the world was growing ever more dire.

“Our full solidarity with Rabbi Heintz,” said EJC. “No one should ever have to live in fear because of their religion.”

Heintz, Utrecht Police, and the Action supermarket did not immediately respond to The Jerusalem Post‘s request for comment.