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Drunken man beats up journalist in Ukrainian synagogue

(JTA) — A drunken man broke into a synagogue in western Ukraine and assaulted a congregant after shouting about “beating up the kikes.”

The incident occurred Tuesday in Vinnytsia, according to a Facebook post by Eduard Dolinsky, the director of Ukraine’s Jewish Committee. The man, who was identified by police as a 42-year-old native of the nearby town of Yampil, “attacked Igor Braverman, a well-known journalist and a member of the community, trying to strangle him, wringing his hands, spat upon the portrait of Hafetz Haim and crushed it.”

The Hafetz Haim is an influential rabbi who died in 1933.

Police took 20 minutes to arrive. They detained the alleged attacker but did not take him into custody. An ambulance took Braverman to a hospital. He did not suffer serious injuries, according to Dolinsky.

The Monitoring Antisemitism Worldwide watchdog group said the Ukrainian interior ministry later assumed responsibility for the case and is handling it as a hate crime.