Chabad Rabbi Ovadia Isakov, who was shot by “a member of one of the most extreme Islamic terrorist groups in the Chechnya-Caucasus area,”according to the President of Dagestan, Russia, recovering on Sunday, now in “stable condition” at the Beilinson hospital in Petach Tikva, Israel, said he hoped to return to Dagestan, despite the violence, according to Israel Channel 2, reporting from the rabbi’s bedside.
“All the time such things as this happens,” Rabbi Isakov said, after regaining consciousness, referring to the anti-Semitic atmosphere of his city. “At Sukkot, they threw a bomb into the women’s mikvah of our synagogue, at our house, they threw a large stone, and now look what they did to us.”
But the Rabbi said that he and his family do not live in fear because they are used to living in the city, and that he would love to return to the mission: “There’s a good community, a lot of families.”
Doctors said that Rabbi Isakov, who has been hospitalized in intensive care since Thursday, was saved because of the quick work of ambulance and other medical professionals who have been supervising his care.
Rabbi Isakov’s doctor in Israel, Dr. Ilya Kagan, said: “I’m really excited to see how the situation of the Rabbi is improving after we saw him sedated and on a respirator after surgery in Russia. We flew him by helicopter to the airport and within 3-4 hours we were in the country.”
Matthew Goldstein, head of the ZAKA emergency response organization, which supplied the medical plane, said: “This was a very complex flight, with the Rabbi still sedated and on a respirator and in critical condition, during the whole flight, the team of doctors treating the rabbi did not stop. An ambulance was waiting [for the plane] near the runway, and took him directly to the hospital.”
The private plane was sponsored by Lev Leviev, the billionaire diamond mogul, investor and president of the JFC, Chabad’s Russian arm.
Watch a video of the bedside interview with the recovering Chabad rabbi below: