From one of our local newspapers the Ilford Recorder. First reports yesterday evening suggested that that this was a "road rage" incident, nothing to do with Gaza, but I do think it is a bit of a co-incidence. It is definitely a hate crime and the police are treating it as such. I suppose much will depend on what the attackers say when identified, arrested and questioned.
A rabbi at the Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue has been hospitalised after an "unprovoked and cowardly" attack in broad daylight which police are investigating as a hate crime.
Rabbi Rafi Goodwin, assistant rabbi at the synagogue, is believed to have been assaulted by two teenagers in Limes Avenue, outside the synagogue around 1.15pm today (Sunday, May 16).
A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "It is believed that two teenagers stepped out in front of the victim's vehicle whilst he was driving, they shouted at him and spoke in a derogatory way about his religion before going on to damage his car. When he got out of his car to confront them, he was attacked with an unknown object causing him to require hospital treatment."
There have been no arrests yet and the victim's phone was also stolen during the attack.
The two boys, described as being of Asian ethnicity, are believed to be aged between 15 and 18 years old. One of the attackers was described as 5ft 9ins tall and wore his hair in an Afro-style and the other was described as being 5ft 7ins tall.
Chigwell and Loughton are just yards beyond the boundary of the London Borough of Redbridge (a very multicultural borough now) and are administered by Essex council and Police. Many people don't realise the Essex/London boundary is there and the population is so closely bound up with the London borough that the leader of Redbridge council can feel moved to issue his condemnation and reassurance of help and extra police patrols. The popular TV comedy Birds of a Feather is set in Chigwell.
A tweet to Councillor Jas Athwal, a Sikh and a decent man in my experience, which saddens me when I remember the Gants Hill community of my young adulthood.
Sir, the dwindling Jewish population in Redbridge has a rise of antisemitic cases to blame. Less than 10 years ago, Redbridge boasted a safe place to live for Jewish people, now some of my friends are scared to leave their homes.