A man brandishing a machete indiscriminately stabbed 5 innocent Hasidic worshippers celebrating Chanukah in the home of a Rockland County, New York rabbi last night, continuing the frightening string of anti-Semitic violence gripping our nation.
We commend New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; New York Attorney General Letitia James; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and leaders and decent people around the world, who have strongly condemned this latest instance of violence. Violence against Jews, and particularly Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, has indeed become “an American cancer, spreading,” as Governor Cuomo put it.
But cancer is not killed with words. We beseech those in government to do everything humanly possible to halt this cancer. Continue increased patrols; apprehend and prosecute criminals. Get them – and keep them – in jail, to the fullest extent allowed by law. Enhance security funding to our vulnerable structures; work with us to provide training, so those within can protect themselves when necessary.
In previous statements here and here and in gatherings, Agudath Israel and others have sounded the alarm of rising anti-Semitism in the media and social media, an alarm that has largely been ignored. Orthodox Jews have been blamed for diseases, “ruining” neighborhoods, having different schools, being provincial, and every trope in the book. Now, we are seeing that hate, which germinated in speech and text, flower into blood on the streets.
Hate speech rarely ends there. It must not be tolerated, on whatever platform it is spewed.
News reports state that the attacker next attempted to enter the adjacent synagogue, but was unable to enter the locked door. This is yet another reminder to all synagogues, schools, and identifiably Jewish gathering places to exercise this and every security measure practical during these increasingly dangerous times.
We pray to the Almighty for a recovery to those injured in last night’s attack. We also pray that He grants those in leadership the fortitude to boldly do what is right, and heal, or remove, this malignant hatred in our country.