The call for increased vigilance and protection was addressed by Jewish organizations and politicians after a series of anti-Semitic attacks during the Hanukkah festival.
Last Saturday night, a man armed with a knife stormed into a rabbi’s home in Monkey, Rockland County, near New York, while celebrating Hanukkah, and stabbed five people. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has described the attack as “internal terrorism”, while US Metropolitan Police Chief Terrence Moynachan has described it as a “heinous hatred.”
The alleged perpetrator of the heinous attack was arrested a few hours later. He is a 38-year-old man, Grafton Thomas, who, when arrested, was covered in blood. He himself, of course, before the court where he was convicted on Sunday, pleaded not guilty to all five counts of attempted murder and to the theft charge.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, where on Sunday night for Hanukkah, lit one of the world’s largest illuminated lamps, asked his fellow residents together with reinforcing anti-Semitism, he announced an educational program to educate children on the subject and committed himself to better policing the neighbourhoods, especially where Jews live.
At the same time, Chuck Summer, a New York Democratic senator, called for a federal investigation into the incident. “The attack on Monsey was an act of pure evil. The plethora of anti-Semitic attacks in metropolitan New York and the US, in general, are outrageous and should not be tolerated. The federal investigation must be carried out, both for the latest attack and for all the previous ones”, he said.
Finally, State Governor Andrew Cuomo stressed that the latest attack is the thirteenth anti-Semitic incident in recent weeks in New York state, and described the phenomenon of “American cancer” intolerance. “We are living in an age of intolerance in our country. Anger and hatred erupt”, he said.
About three weeks ago, two gunmen stormed a shop selling Jewish Kosher food in New Jersey. The shootout that followed killed six people, including three civilians, a police officer and two perpetrators, who according to police were linked to a group of fanatical anti-Semites.
However, the recent attack has intensified pressure on US authorities to protect Jewish communities in areas with large Hasidic populations, including synagogues. However, some members of the Jewish community have stressed that they fear the latest incidents of anti-Semitic violence go beyond the capacity of the police to protect the community.