Police arrested three suspects but have yet to establish a motive, Ukraine news websites reported. A Russian-language Israeli website reported that one of the suspects is an Arab man aged 26, who was likely under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.
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Rabbi Elimelech Shochat, head of an American organization dedicated to supporting Jews in the Ukraine, told Ynet that he and Freifeld were longtime friends and that Freifeld was "one of the best doctors this city has known. The Jewish community in Lviv is bowing its head today," Shochat added. "We're all in shock and are grief-stricken over the loss of this generous man and the best doctor in Lviv."
Shochat said that Freifeld was considered an excellent surgeon, was chief of trauma at the hospital in Lviv and led the hospital's research in orthopedics.
Dr. Freifeld's image in the report
Seeing as Freifeld was a lecturer at the university, he lived near the student dorms, which led the police to suspect that whoever beat him might have been a student of his.
"I called Leon's mobile yesterday morning and his daughter answered and told me what had happened, Shochat said."She was very upset and was afraid to talk, fearing that other members of the family may be subject to violence."
According to Freifeld's daughter, around 6 am Saturday, a few drunken followed Freifeld. Though three men were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the incident, only one of them was actually responsible for the brutal beating, the daughter added.
"In the morning, there are usually no longer any drunks in the streets, so it's weird that they followed him. That's why we suspect that they knew him, waited by his house and did it on purpose. But nothing's certain yet," Shochat said.
'Generous man; devoted surgeon'Another member of the Lviv community described Freifeld as a very generous man. "He would always get extra matzot before Passover and give to people in the community. He was an excellent surgeon. We all mourn his loss."
Rabbi Mordechai Shlomo, resident of Lviv reported a rise in anti-Semitism in Lviv. "I've lived here since 1993, and things were better then. Anti-Semitism is much more present nowadays, but many in the community have been in denial."
"We still don’t know what the motive for the murder was. Whether it had anything to do with anti-Semitism, or if it was just someone who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But in case it turns out as an act of anti-Semitism, everyone will say 'it's a one time thing; it won't happen to us'. People are trying to deny it."
Ilana Curiel contributed to this report
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