Rabbi Yehuda Malul of the Menuchat Shalom synagogue in Marseilles, France, was attacked this past weekend with another congregant while on their way to morning prayers.
The synagogue is located in the center of the southern French city, where there are many hareidi-religious Jews, synagogues and yeshivot.
According to a report posted on the Hebrew-language website Bhadarei Haredim, the attacker was a “young man of Arab appearance.”
The rabbi, who spoke with a writer at the website, said the attacker yelled, “Yahud, Allahu Akbar!” The attacker punched the rabbi with his fists, and he shouted again, “Itbah al-Yahud!” as the rabbi fell to the ground.
When the rabbi’s companion went to the rabbi’s side to try to protect him, the attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed the man in the abdomen.
The rabbi told the site that he was “not hurt” and continued on to the synagogue. However, his companion was rushed to the hospital where doctors “said it was a real miracle, and that the knife was blocked due to the heavy coat he was wearing. If not for the coat, the injury could have been critical.”
The attacker had been released only a few days earlier from prison, according to the rabbi, who said the incident was “frightening” when taken in context of the normal Marseilles lifestyle.
“Here in Marseilles, it’s not like Paris,” he said, “ we have had no anti-Semitic incidents; that this has happened at a time of stabbings in Israel is frightening, especially since after the stabbing the stabber continued to curse the Jews after being arrested by police.”
On Sunday, the Jewish community in Marseilles is set to hold a solidarity rally for Israel, walking from the city center to the Israeli consulate.