One of two young Jewish men beaten in downtown Kiev on Sunday evening was reportedly in "very serious condition" on Monday, the latest victim of anti-Semitism in Ukraine.
The man was identified in an Israel Radio report as 28-year-old yeshiva student Mordechai Ben-Avraham and by Interfax as Mordekhay Molozhenov. According to one report, he and/or his colleague is an Israeli citizen.
A police spokesman told The Associated Press that Ben-Avraham/ Molozhenov was in a coma after undergoing brain surgery.
"The doctors say he is between life and death," Eduard Dolinsky, executive vice-president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, said on Monday afternoon.
The two yeshiva students were reportedly beaten and struck with sticks and glass bottles by seven or eight assailants whom police classified as teenagers associated with a nationalistic "skinhead" group.
Dolinsky said no suspects had been arrested, despite the fact that skinheads were reportedly seen perpetrating the attack and that their whereabouts were known.
"We in the Jewish community believe that the police know who did it and, if they want, they could catch them any time. The [skinheads] hang out in a public square every day, and the police know them," he said.
Anti-Semitic attacks have occurred frequently of late, he added.
"We have had seven attacks in the past month – from verbal attacks to physical attacks [causing] light injuries. This case is very difficult and tragic for the whole community. People are frightened."
Anti-Semitic rhetoric in Ukraine has also grown increasingly violent. Earlier this month, Ukrainian nationalists asked President Viktor Yushchenko to open criminal proceedings against "Judeo-Nazis," singling out Chabad rabbis and the main work of Chabad hassidic literature, the
In an open letter to Yushchenko, members of the Conservative Party and several far right-wing editors demanded that Jews be prevented from teaching the
in Jewish schools and synagogues, so as to stop the spread of "this misanthropic religious system."
Dolinsky said this latest attack would likely receive the same kind of attention that others had, explaining, "We never saw results in previous cases, so we are pessimistic about anything happening now. Without a government showing the political will to fight it, we will not survive this wave of anti-Semitism."
Spokesmen for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry were unavailable for comment about the attack or about the police's response to it.
In Jerusalem, the Jewish Agency announced on Monday that it would provide aid to the two young men who were wounded in the attack.