Rabbi Ovadia Isakov, 40, a Chabad emissary in Derbent, the Republic of Dagestan, was reported in improved condition on Sunday after he was shot last week near his home.
Rabbi Isakov was flown to Israel early Friday morning in a chartered emergency rescue plane, accompanied by a team of doctors and paramedics. After an initial surgery in Dagestan, he underwent a second surgery in Israel on Friday, which successfully stopped bleeding in his liver. Doctors at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah said the surgery went “very well,” and his condition was upgraded to satisfactory.
The acting head of Dagestan, a majority Muslim republic bordering Azerbaijan, condemned the attack, blaming it on “extremists and terrorists,” according to a report from Chabad.org.
Rabbi David Lau, Israel’s newly elected Ashkenazic chief rabbi, visited Isakov on Motzoei Shabbos.
“I would like to strengthen you to continue your shelichus,” Lau told Isakov. “After you get well and return to your place of shelichus, I will come visit you.”
The flight to Israel was arranged by Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia, in collaboration with the international unit of the ZAKA emergency service team in Israel.