Two men have been arrested on suspicion of religiously-aggravated assault over an antisemitic attack which hospitalised Rabbi Rafi Goodwin on Sunday.
Leeds-born father of two Rabbi Goodwin, who is in his thirties, was brutally beaten with a blunt object, sustaining head injuries, according to the police.
The United Synagogue, the umbrella body to which Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue belongs, said that Rabbi Goodwin sustained injuries necessitating a stay in hospital so that he could be treated and assessed for concussion. A police statement issued soon after the incident added that he was treated for cuts to his head and eye.
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. During the attack the victim’s phone was also stolen.” Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper added: “At this time we do not believe this incident is related to events taking place overseas or incidents which have taken place elsewhere in the country.”
The following day, Essex Police confirmed that it had made two arrests, stating: “Two men from Ilford, aged 18 and 25 were arrested this afternoon on suspicion of [causing] Grievous Bodily Harm with intent.”
Police also issued an appeal anyone with mobile or CCTV recordings to contact them by calling 101, quoting crime reference number 42/92174/21.
Local Councillor Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said: “Antisemitism has no place in our society and, if you have any information about this unprovoked and cowardly attack, please contact the police. We are proud of our community and all parts of the community in Redbridge, we unequivocally condemn this attack and will continue to work together to support each other.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “This is a time when there is considerable fear within the Jewish community over the outpouring of Jew-hatred of the past week. This attack deepened that alarm, so we would particularly like to praise Essex Police for its swift response, resulting in these arrests. We will follow the case closely.”