Russia’s Jewish community reacts to anti-Israeli riot amid global tensions

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

After an anti-Israeli riot at a Russian airport, some members of Moscow’s Jewish community said they were dejected but unsurprised because of the global tensions from the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Under an icy rain outside the Moscow Choral Synagogue on Monday, 23-year-old Shulamit, a teacher at a Jewish school said Sunday’s rioters were “people who do not know or understand much.”

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“Many people try to sow hatred and animosity within Russian society. The most important thing is that we do not give in to that and that we stay human.

“It was very unpleasant, painful, we do not want these kinds of provocations, we do not want these people who do not know much being manipulated to do bad things.”

Behind her, a Russian police vehicle guarding the synagogue could be seen and groups of children attending the Jewish school came and went with their teachers.

Russian police said they had arrested 60 people suspected of violently storming Makhachkala airport on Sunday, seeking to attack Jewish passengers coming from Israel.

Dozens of protesters charged onto the runway and four police officers were injured while attempting to restore order.

The crowd of men were trying to surround a plane that had landed from Tel Aviv on its way to Moscow, looking for Jews.

The attack contradicted the message from the Kremlin, which regularly prides itself on ensuring tolerance between Russia’s many ethnic groups and religions.

In a park opposite the synagogue, Josef, a 35-year-old teacher wearing a kippah, said the attack was “frightening”.

Russia has a population of around 20 million Muslims and 150,000 Jews.

The Kremlin on Monday blamed “external interference” for the attack, with Russian foreign affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying Ukraine had played a “direct and key role” in what happened.

The governor of Dagestan in the North Caucasus, the predominantly Muslim region where the attack took place, blamed a Telegram channel that he said was managed from Ukraine for inciting the riot.

The incident was one of several recent ones in the North Caucasus, including a reported arson attack on a Jewish centre in the city of Nalchik also on Sunday.

The director of the Moscow Choral Synagogue, Ariel Razbegayev, 37, said he just wanted “peace” between different religious communities inside Russia.

“Political events should not set fire to our common home,” he said.

But he said he was not surprised, saying it “could have been expected”.

Read more:

Israeli army says female soldier hostage freed from Gaza during ground operation

Netanyahu says Israel making ‘systematic progress’ in Gaza war

Hamas releases new hostage video, Netanyahu denounces ‘cruel propaganda’

Top Content Trending