Jewish leaders in New York City are reporting increased attacks on members of their religious community. They warned this week that violent attacks against Jews have become more and more frequent in Brooklyn especially.
The latest victim of the anti-Semitic attacks was a 52-year-old man, who was beaten on Saturday while walking home from his synagogue in broad daylight, according to WCBS-TV. Police are now keeping a close eye on the neighborhood where the attack took place.
Following this latest incident, Jewish leaders from Brooklyn stated that the attacks on their community are not a coincidence, and that they have become too frequent to not be planned and deliberate.
WCBS’s Janelle Burrell talked to members of the Brooklyn community who feel threatened and nervous at the frequency of the attacks.
“People are very, very nervous about what is going on,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind said.
Hikind explained that he doesn’t believe the attacks were isolated.
“In between these two incidents, there are so many others. Many of them don’t get reported,” he said.
Police are still looking for the latest attacker. In an interview with WCBS, the victim, who asked to remain anonymous, recounted what happened to him:
“I greeted him and I go, continue. Next thing I know, he said ‘I don’t like Jews, who were you talking to. I don’t talk to Jews.’ He put me in a headlock and I’m trying to maneuver out of him. In the meantime, I’m screaming ‘Help, help.’ He said ‘You don’t need help, I’m going to kill you right here.'” the man recalled.
The victim was assaulted for a total of five minutes until two strangers intervened. They saw the man being attacked and pulled the assailant off of him. The victim was left with a broken rib, a black eye and scratches all over his body.
“Unfortunately there are people out there who want to kill us for one reason: Because we are a Jew,” the victim’s wife told WCBS.
The previous week, another man was attacked on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway. Ari Ellis, 42, suffered a broken nose and multiple broken ribs.
Ellis told police that he suspects he was targeted because he is Jewish.
“I don’t understand why they had to pick me. I wonder, do people realize this is anti-Semitism?” Ellis said.
“I don’t know if there’s a connection, but there’s a lot of concern there has been tremendous growth of anti-Semitism,” Assembylman Hikind told WCBS.
Last year, there were 11 reported anti-Semitic attacks in New York. Out of the those, seven were in Brooklyn, reported the Anti-Defamation League.
Jewish leadership in New York has been in contact with the NYPD regarding the issue, pointing out the questionable timing of the attacks. New York’s Jewish Leadership Council told the NYPD that they believe the attacks were planned.
“We would like people to help us locate the person who committed this horrible attack on an innocent person. Being able to walk down the street without being hurt is a civil right that every person has,” Rabbi Eli Cohen, Crown Heights Jewish Community Council Executive Director, told WCBS.
“I am disgusted and saddened by the vicious attack that occurred on Saturday in Crown Heights, which is being investigated as a potential hate crime,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “This is not what our city is about, and my heart breaks that New Yorkers have endured this kind of abuse and violence. Hate has no place here, and I pray those responsible are quickly brought to justice.”
The ADL has posted a $5,000 reward for information on the attack from this past weekend.