Multiple Death Threats Target Chabad Rabbi in Arad

| November 29, 2010

The family of Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Arad Rabbi Yaakov Mendelzohn was targeted Saturday night by an unknown predator who mailed a death threat to their home for the third time in less than a month.

The envelope, which bore a Tel Aviv-Yafo (Jaffa) postmark, was addressed to Mrs. Chanie Mendelzohn.

The threat warned that on the third of December, "we will be at your house." As with the two prior threats, the letter was "decorated" with a drawing of a large black pistol firing a bullet. Unlike the prior two letters, Saturday night's document also bore what appeared to be an attempt at Arabic handwriting.

All three pre-stamped envelopes were hand-addressed and appeared to be written with a black felt marker.

Mendelzohn discovered the letter when he went to retrieve the mail from his post box on Saturday night after the Sabbath ended. He immediately called police, who photographed and examined the paper before taking it from him, as investigators had earlier when the rabbi discovered a similar message in his mailbox the previous Saturday night.

His wife had also given police the first letter, which arrived while Mendelzohn was still in New York attending the annual International Conference of Chabad Shluchim.

No arrests have yet been made.

Last week's threat warned the family to "Beware! Explosive material!" A small piece of an internal computer element was stuck to the paper, as if to imitate a bomb component.

The tires on the family's car have been slashed three times in the past month as well, since the first threat was sent. In at least one incident the timing of the vandalism coincided with the arrival of a death threat.

"I really believe someone wants me dead," Mendelzohn told Israel National News. "We are taking this very seriously." Although Arad is home to some two dozen synagogues, Mendelzohn is the spiritual leader at the city's sole municipal house of worship, the Central Ashkenazi Synagogue.

Police have launched an investigation into the threats and the vandalism. "Of course they are concerned," said a family friend who requested anonymity. "Who wouldn't be?"

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security