Several skinheads in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev beat up and stabbed two Jewish youngsters Sunday night, critically injuring one and lightly wounding the other.
The two yeshiva students, both in their 20s, were badly beaten and assaulted with broken glass bottles.
Local police have launched an investigation into the incident. Foreign Ministry officials told Ynet they too are looking into the attack.
Meanwhile, Israeli sources said they believe the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism.
Jewish Agency chairman Zeev Bielski has instructed emissaries in Kiev to offer all possible assistance to the Jewish youths.
"It is a severe incident, yet not surprising due to increased anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine," Bielski said. "Lately, we have witnessed a rise in cemetery desecrations, Nazi graffiti, attacks on Jews and more. We are expecting the Ukrainian government and its law enforcement to handle theses phenomena with a firm hand and with decisiveness in order to stop such incidences."
Jewish Agency emissary in Kiev Alex Katz told Ynet earlier that the stabbing attack was one of the most severe incidents he had ever encountered.
"It is clear to us that it was not an institutionalized attack, but rather a street phenomenon, however we are expecting the authorities to issue a presidential declaration announcing their intention to fight anti-Semitism," he said.
The Jewish community in Kiev has expressed it's willingness to assist the two youngsters, Katz said, adding that the Jewish Agency would also help if needed, such as bringing the victims to Israel for medical assistance.
Anti-Semitism in Europe has not disappeared
In April 2002, about 50 youngsters were attacked by a mob inside one of Kiev's oldest synagogues. The group shattered the windows by throwing stones and bottles and beat up those praying inside the synagogue.
At the time, Kiev's Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman said the mob walked down the main street shouting "Death to Jews." Three people were injured, including a 14-year-old, a security guard and Habad yeshiva head Rabbi Tzvi Kaplan.
Over the past few months, an increase of anti-Semitic incidences has been noted in Europe.
In June, vandals smashed and knocked over the headstones of about 130 graves in a Jewish cemetery in Budapest.
At the time, Budapest mayor Gabor Demszky offered a reward of one million forints (USD 4,845), equivalent to more than half a year's wages for an average Hungarian, for information about the damaged graves.
On the very same day, London police investigated the vandalism of Jewish graves in a cemetery located in London's east end, where nearly 100 headstones were desecrated.
- Miri Chason contributed to the report