London Police arrested a man on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the Friday morning stabbing of 50-year-old Rabbi Alter Yaakov Schlesinger.
The strictly Orthodox rabbi, a member of Stamford Hill’s Satmar Chassidic community, was outside a bank in Hackney when the suspect, a man in his 40s, “ran off a bus and allegedly set upon the rabbi with a large knife,” according to British news outlet, The Jewish Chronicle.
The rabbi sustained multiple stab wounds, including in the head, before two construction workers and a Deliveroo driver tackled the attacker and pinned him to the ground, holding him there until police arrived.
The victim, a lecturer (maggid shiur) at the Satmar Yeshiva in Stamford Hill, was rushed to the hospital by local Hatzolah first responders, according to the report. The victim’s wounds were reportedly not life-threatening.
Small update, though there is obviously a lot we still don't know & a limit to what I can say. However, the victim’s injuries are now not considered life threatening, though obviously my thoughts are still with him & his family especially on a Friday night & suspect is in custody https://t.co/5JKwa7kvVC
— Mayor of Hackney (@mayorofhackney) June 12, 2020
The attacker was also taken to the hospital to attend to a minor head injury but was subsequently discharged and brought to an East London police station.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted his sympathy and concern over the attack, writing “My thoughts are with the victim of this horrible attack and the whole community in Stoke Newington. Thank you to those members of the public who ran to help.”
Numerous Jewish community members noted, however, that few mainstream media offered major headlines over the stabbing, traumatic as it was. Nor did anyone notice the Jewish community did not destroy the neighborhood or trash municipal infrastructure in response to the attack on an innocent rabbi despite violence towards Jews sadly not uncommon as it should be.
Contrasting the response of much of the world to the killing of George Floyd to the multiple stabbing of Rabbi Schlensinger, a member of the British Jewish community tweeted: “A rabbi in London was stabbed in the head and we hear nothing but crickets from the mainstream media! This was a horrific hate crime! Where’s the outrage or major protests from those on the Left at this crime against a Jew?”
A rabbi in London was stabbed in the head and we hear nothing but crickets from the mainstream media! This was a horrific hate crime! Where's the outrage or major protests from those on the LEFT at this crime against a Jew? #JewishLivesMatter https://t.co/0S5HikofVI
— Karmel Melamed (@KarmelMelamed) June 12, 2020
Metropolitan Police meanwhile said in a statement the incident was not terror-related, but also have not yet determined whether the attack was a hate crime, even though the rabbi – visually obviously Jewish — was clearly selected as the preferred target from among others standing in line outside the bank.