Two Arrested After Rabbi Attacked Near London Synagogue

May 18, 2021 Updated: May 18, 2021

British police arrested two people on Monday in connection with an attack on a rabbi near his synagogue in north London.

Rabbi Rafi Goodwin received hospital treatment for head injuries on May 16, following an assault in Limes Avenue, north London, just after 12.15 GMT.

Two men from Ilford, northeast London, aged 18 and 25, were arrested on Monday afternoon on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, Essex Police said.

According to an earlier police statement, it was believed that the two attackers stepped out in front of the victim’s vehicle whilst he was driving, shouted at him, and spoke in a derogatory way about his religion before going on to damage his car.

When he got out of his car to confront them, he was attacked with an unknown object, and his phone was also stolen. The attackers then left the scene on foot.

Police said officers were speaking to members of the local Jewish community who are celebrating Shavuot, in Chigwell and Southend, Essex.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper said: “We know this is a very important time—a time for communities to come together, to be around each other and celebrate. We do not want anyone to feel that they cannot do that safely.

“Officers have spent the day speaking with the Jewish community to provide reassurance.

He suggested that police did not believe the attack was linked to anti-Israel protests that took place over the weekend.

“At this time we do not believe this incident is related to events taking place overseas or incidents which have taken place elsewhere in the country,” he said.

In other developments, Metropolitan Police said that four men arrested on Sunday for shouting anti-Semitic abuse have been released on bail.

A video posted on Twitter on Sunday showed cars moving on a street with Palestinian flags on them, Slogans such as “[Expletive] the Jews, [expletive] their mothers, [expletive] their daughters” and “Rape their daughters” were heard through a loudspeaker.

The Met traced one of the cars after receiving reports of the incident. A police helicopter was deployed and officers stopped the car and arrested the men on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences.

The incident was condemned by British politicians across the political spectrum. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter: “There is no place for antisemitism in our society. Ahead of Shavuot, I stand with Britain’s Jews who should not have to endure the type of shameful racism we have seen today.”

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said the behaviour was “utterly disgusting.”

Lily Zhou and PA contributed to this report.