Budapest: Stones thrown at rabbi's house during seder
Rabbi Shmuel Raskin's home in Hungarian capital pelted with stones three times during holiday meal. 'The rabbi was saved by a double window. Police came, but were indifferent,' says one of guests present. Jewish Agency representative expresses concerns over rise of extreme Right in Hungary
Sitting around Rabbi Shmuel Raskin's table for the second seder in Budapest and singing Passover songs, holiday celebrators were shocked when stones suddenly crashed against the windows. Ynet learned of the threatening incident, which members of the local Jewish community are attributing to the rise of the radical Right in Hungary.
Sitting next to Rabbi Raskin was Eran Elbar, a Jewish Agency representative in eastern Europe. "At around 11 pm, stones were thrown at the window behind the rabbi and myself. We didn't make a big deal about it. We closed the shutters a bit and continued. A half hour later, we opened the shutters again, and another stone was thrown," said Elbar.
The second incident prompted the seder guests to call the police. Police officers stationed themselves along the street, but that apparently did not deter the stone-throwers.
The rabbi himself could not be reached for comment because the holiday is not yet over in Hungary.
"Afterwards, at midnight, what seemed to be a rubber bullet from a slingshot or some primitive weapon was fired at the window. The police are still looking into the weapon. The hole made looks like a gunshot," Elbar explained.
A neo-Nazi in Hungary. 'Sense that Jews need to lower their heads' (Photo: Reuters)
Another guest, a photographer working in Hungary who has attended the Raskin seder for the past few years, said that the double window installed for extra insulation against the cold apparently protected the participants from harm.
"The interior window in essence stopped the bullet from hurting the rabbi, and this is how he was miraculously saved," explained the photographer. According to him, the improvised rubber bullet fired after midnight passed "right over the rabbi's head."
'The Right growing stronger'
The photographer claimed that the police addressed the incident poorly: "They didn't see that there was a rubber bullet and insisted that only stones were thrown. They told us, 'We're not going to go knocking on all the doors now to find who threw a stone at you.' I understood they were going to do anything, so I ordered the security from the embassy to the site, and they arrived quickly."
The photographer was deeply shaken by the evening's events. "I couldn't fall asleep all night. The rabbi is like my father and the Chabad House is like my second home even though I'm not religious. The Right is growing stronger here, and now there are concerns that there will be legitimacy granted to hurting foreigners. I am worried by the situation we have reached. I have lived and worked here for a few years and collaborate with Hungarians. What is going to happen now?"
Jewish Agency representative Elbar also said the incident affected the seder guests. "Even though no one was hurt, we all felt like this was a significant event. There is a sense that Jews need to lower their heads in light of strengthening of the extreme Right that could make headway in the upcoming elections. There are pamphlets everywhere for the party against the Jews," said Elbar.
Initial information received via Red Email