As Isakov walked from his car to his front door, a bullet struck his chest. Neighbors heard his cries and called emergency services. The next day, the rabbi was airlifted to Israel for surgery.
Isakov, 40, is still recovering in Israel from his near-fatal injury.
Meanwhile, Russian authorities continue to hunt for the Islamist separatists they believe attacked him as part of their 13-year-long struggle to control the Russian republic of Dagestan, where about 2,000 Jews live among a predominantly Muslim population.
Isakov says authorities have obtained a picture of one of the suspects and are “making serious efforts” to catch the culprits. But despite the government’s responsiveness — not to mention the recent opening of a flashy Jewish community center and the deep cultural roots that Jews have established here — the shooting is prompting Derbent’s 1,200 Jews to reconsider their options.
“There is no future for Jews here,” said Angela Rubinov, head of the Derbent office of Atzmaut, a nongovernmental organization funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. “It seems that every day there are explosions or violence. I’m staying because someone needs to turn off the lights.”