After a series of attacks on Jews in the New York metropolitan area, the metropolis had recently tightened security measures
The assembled believers in Rabbis Chaim Rottenberg’s house were about to light the Hanukkah candles when an attacker brutally interrupted their celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights. “We saw him take a knife out of a box – it was the size of a broomstick,” said one of the participants in the New York Times celebration. “He started attacking people as soon as he got in the door. We had no time to respond at all. I prayed for my life”.
2 of the victims of the attack were taken into hospital as critical. The perp's face was partially covered with a scarf but skin showed him to be an African American.
— OJPAC (Hudson Valley Account) (@OJPACHV) December 29, 2019
The attack occurred on Saturday night in the Rabbi’s house in the Orthodox Jewish town of Monsey, about an hour’s drive north of the metropolis of New York. The attacker injured at least five people in a very short time and then fled with a car. But the police caught him shortly afterwards. The investigative authorities initially did not disclose any further information about his identity or a motive.
Security measures tightened recently
The man was charged with five attempts to murder and break-in, the police said on Sunday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the attack as “disgusting.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke of a “hideous and cowardly deed” and ordered an investigation. On Sunday, he visited the scene of the crime and argued that the incident should be seen as “domestic terrorism”. Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the metropolis of New York, announced additional security measures at a press conference on Sunday – including more security cameras and additional police presence. The New York State Secretary of Justice, Letitia James, was “deeply disturbed” by the attack and pledged solidarity to the Jewish community.
Security measures had recently been tightened in the metropolis of New York after there had been around half a dozen anti-Semitic attacks during the Hanukkah celebrations. Every year, with the Festival of Lights lasting several days, Jews commemorate the new consecration of the temple in Jerusalem in 165 before the Christian era.
The unharmed believers around Rabbi Rottenberg continued their Hanukkah celebration after the attack in the neighbouring synagogue, as a video of the local Jewish community shows on Twitter. The commentary also translated the song of the faithful: “The grace of God has not stopped and His grace has not left us.”
Israel wants to support American authorities
Politicians worldwide condemned the attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the attack. “We will work with local authorities in every way to help end this phenomenon.” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke on Twitter of a “terrible attack”. Parliament President Juli Edelstein was equally “shocked”. He was confident that the American authority would act decisively against the “hideous attacker” – as against any criminal who raised his hand against a Jew.
The Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem expressed “deep concern about the news and images of the site of another anti-Semitic attack”. The Wiesenthal Center called on the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to set up an FBI special unit in the fight against anti-Semitism “after the endless attacks on Jews and their religious institutions”. “Enough is enough! Jews in America should not have to fear for their lives if they go to their houses of worship. »The International Auschwitz Committee and the Conference of European Rabbis also condemned the attack.
Donald Trump called for a more determined approach against anti-Semitism. “We all have to come together to fight, confront and erase the diabolical scourge of anti-Semitism,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
The anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, on the 7th night of Hanukkah last night is horrific. We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism. Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2019
The attack shows that “the anti-Semitic threat with its deadly dimension can no longer be denied by anyone in Europe, but also in North America,” said the Federal Government’s Anti-Semitism Commissioner Felix Klein, the German news agency DPA. “The international community should now respond to this international challenge with its internationally agreed instruments.”