Rabbi Moshe Ohayon, the leader of Casablanca’s Jewish community was walking to his local synagogue on Friday night for Sabbath services when a young Muslim man stopped him and beat him, breaking his ribs and nose. The man allegedly told Ohayon while he was beating him that the attack was retribution for Israel’s incursion into Gaza.
According to the Times of Israel, the attack occurred this past Friday and police are aware of the identity of the assailant, though they have not yet released it. Law enforcement notes that they have evidence to believe the man told Ohayon that the attack was in response to airstrikes in Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces. In addition to breaking Ohayon’s nose and ribs, he was beaten severely over the head. As this happened in public, the rabbi asked for help from passersby, but he was allegedly ignored, according to police officials.
Jewish Moroccans have called for increased security aid from the government in response to both the attack on Ohayon and, generally, the escalation of tensions in Gaza, which has historically prompted attacks on Jewish residents in Morocco. In 2012, for example, a 74-year-old Jewish man was beaten to death in Fez with a hammer. This incident was attributed to military activity in Gaza, against which many Palestine supporters protested violently during Israel’s campaign against Hamas at that time.
Arutz Sheva notes that Jewish Moroccans are reporting a general increase in hostility towards Jews in the country. Said one resident of the recent attack: “Since the recent incidents in Judea, Samaria and Gaza began, there is an increase in harassment of Jews. It has become really scary to live here.” Residents hope law enforcement will respond appropriately to their request for increased security at synagogues and other Jewish institutions in large Moroccan cities.
The Casablanca attack is not the only expression of anti-Semitism to happen internationally in response to Operation Protective Edge. In Paris on Sunday, thousands of supporters of Palestine surrounded a synagogue and trapped hundreds of Jewish people then in the building, while also throwing stones and bricks at and into the building. The protesters also attacked French police with projectiles, triggering a response from law enforcement with tear gas. The Jewish population of France has dwindled significantly in the past year, with more than 5,000 French Jews moving out of the country, many to Israel, as a response to the growing, increasingly hostile Muslim population of France.
In another instance of anti-Semitism over Operation Protective Edge internationally, a Turkish pop star caused an uproar when tweeting a series of anti-Semitic statements, going as far as to state, “May God bless Hitler.”