As riots in Greece’s two largest cities extended into their third day with some of the worst violence seen yet, the Jewish community of Athens is safe, but apprehensive. The Chabad-Lubavitch center that Rabbi Mendel and Nechama Hendel have operated since 2001 is operating as usual, with the couple regularly checking up on residents by telephone.

Speaking Monday night as anarchist youths took their spree of arson and vandalism closer to the capital’s Parliament, the rabbi said that the previous two hours had seen a drastic intensification in the protesters’ actions.

“It’s gotten really crazy here,” said Hendel. “It’s evening here, and it’s been getting worse at night. I’m certainly not going out.

“Thank G‑d, the Jewish community is okay,” he added. “So far, the rioters have not been targeting people.

Noting that some members of his community have businesses located in hard-hit neighborhoods, the rabbi added: “I don’t know how Jewish businesses have fared.”

The worst public uprising to strike Greece since then-President Bill Clinton’s visit in 1999, the violence began Saturday night as an apparent response to the killing of a 15-year-old boy by Athens police officers. The Associated Press reported that the last time a teenager was killed in a police shooting – during a demonstration in 1985 – it sparked weeks of frequent rioting.

In the past two days, rioters thought to be affiliated with a local anarchist movement have torched businesses and cars, blocked streets and massed in front of police lines. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos seemingly sought to quell tensions when he urged the prompt prosecution of the officers responsible in the teenager’s death, but the destruction continued apace.

“They are burning cars, closing roads, smashing stores,” reported Hendel.

Most of Athens’ 3,000-strong Jewish community lives outside the city center, he said. People, however, are on edge and keeping abreast of developments. Riots have also taken hold of Thessaloniki in the north of the country.

A spokesman from the Israeli Embassy in Athens said earlier in the day that the mission had no information about any Israelis traveling in Greece who might be in any danger. Although the embassy is far from the center of town, staff are remaining cautious.

“In general, the people of Athens are avoiding going downtown,” said the spokesman, William Anagaostaras. “We’re being careful. Things are still pretty shaky.”

Said Hendel: “I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude.”