According to police, the suspect accosted Wiesel in the hotel elevator at around 6:30 p.m., saying he wanted to interview him. Wiesel said he would do the interview in the lobby. That’s when the attacker pulled him out of the elevator, police reported. . . .Police reported that the suspect tried to force Wiesel into one of the rooms, but ran away when Wiesel started yelling.
As the article notes, a subsequent posting to an anti-Zionist web site described the attack in detail from the attacker's point of view. The posting claimed that the intent of the assault was to force Wiesel to confess that the Holocaust didn't happen and that his writings on the subject were entirely made up. I have a feeling that the ultimate intent was probably more than that, and if the attacker hadn't decided to run when Wiesel yelled for help, Elie Wiesel could easily be badly hurt or dead right now.
There are a lot of things I could say about this news story. Wiesel is incredibly lucky. The guy ran. A lot of the time, they don't. If he hadn't, Wiesel, who's in good health but whose fighting days are long past, would have been in serious trouble. A gun probably wouldn't meet Wiesel's personal needs, because he travels internationally and spends lots of time in Europe, and I'm sure he makes a comfortable living, but don't know if his finances could accommodate a full-time bodyguard. But he was very, very, fortunate here. Haing S. Ngor, after all, survived Cambodia's Killing Fields only to be murdered by muggers in his Los Angeles driveway. As a Jew who's deeply concerned with the rise in anti-Jewish extremism, seeing Wiesel have so close a brush with fate gives me chills, and a sense of foreboding.