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Arsonist sets fires at 7 Brooklyn synagogues and Jewish schools

Raw Story
November 4, 2018


The New York Police Department received reports of fires at seven Hasidic Jewish institutions in a single neighborhood in Brooklyn – around the same time vandals spray-painted "Kill All Jews" inside a reform synagogue in the same borough.

City Council Member Stephen Levin and State Senator Martin Dilan released a statement about the fires Friday afternoon.

"Earlier this morning, NYPD's 90th Precinct received reports of fires at seven different locations throughout South Williamsburg," the statement read. "The perpetrator set fires at local yeshivas and synagogues in the predominantly Hasidic community."

"Tragically, it would seem these types of attacks are becoming all too common," the politicians continued. "Words and speech are as real as any weapon, and I again call on the current administration to unequivocally denounce every and all hate groups. We need to do everything in our power to deny hate safe harbor, whether in Pittsburgh, Charleston, or here in Williamsburg."

The NYPD, along with the Williamsburg Shomrim, or volunteer neighborhood patrol group, reportedly arrested a man suspected of setting the fires.

The Friday morning vandalism at a Brooklyn Heights synagogue led to the cancellation of a progressive get-out-the-vote event that would have featured Broad City star Ilana Glazer.

As NYC Councilman Chaim Deutsch noted on Twitter, there have been multiple anti-Semitic incidents in the week since the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.

The incidents include swastikas found graffitied in Brooklyn Heights and Manhattan's Upper West Side, the vandalism inside Brooklyn Height's Union Temple, an anti-Semitic license plate that was removed in Queens and a Jewish man being verbally threatened in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood.

In the Crown Heights incident, which was reported by the neighborhood's Shomrim on October 30, three teens allegedly threatened to stab a Jewish man and "kill all Jews."

During a Wednesday morning briefing, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea noted that the department has seen "an increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes, particularly swastikas, on buildings in part of the city."

"In last 28 days particularly, which is a little troublesome, we have seen an uptick in that category," Shea said.

The New York Daily News reported that the NYPD had logged 116 anti-Semitic "bias incidents" as of October 7 – including 12 assaults.


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