Mayor de Blasio Meets with Jewish Leaders in City Hall to Address Rising anti-Semitic Violence in the City

Mayor de Blasio Meets with Jewish Leaders in City Hall to Address Rising anti-Semitic Violence in the City

By Yehudit Garmaise

     Mayor de Blasio met with leaders of Agudath Israel today in City Hall after Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudah’s executive vice president and Mr. Shlomo Werdiger, the chairman of the organization’s board of trustees, reached out to the mayor to request an emergency meeting to respond to the recent violent attacks on Jews in New York City.

     “The idea that unrest in the Middle East justifies gang violence and ‘Jew-hunting’ is horrifying,” Agudath Israel said in a statement that “condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the senseless, antisemitic attacks against Jews in New York City, Los Angeles, and elsewhere around the country.”

     “Horrible and consistent pattern,” said the mayor. “We take it seriously because if we don’t, it’s at all of our peril,” said the mayor, who reassured askanim that any attacks will be addressed forcefully. For instance, the mayor, who said that more arrests are forthcoming, noted the arrests the NYPD made last night after a mob of pro-Palestinian protestors yelled anti-Semitic slurs and burned one 29-year-old Jewish woman and kicked, beat, and blinded for hours by pepper-spray a 29-year-old Jewish man in the Diamond District in Manhattan. 

     “I don’t see this in isolation, and it’s not just one incident,” said Mayor de Blasio, who noted the rise of anti-Semitism in the world in the wake of Hamas’ recent bombing attacks of Israel, which has retaliated in self-defense. “People’s fears and concerns are well placed, and we have to respond in kind.”

     In response to an increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the city, patrol vehicles will increase in Jewish neighborhoods and auxiliary officers will be stationed at shuls across the city, said NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, who explained that the extra officers will be reassigned from precincts that do not have Jewish institutions.

     The members of the Jewish community who attended the meeting offered to help the NYPD in identifying what could potentially, chas v’shalom, be, the biggest targets of hate crimes.

     “Use us as your goodwill ambassadors,” said askanim, who stressed that they are capable of working very quickly to fight hate crimes. 

    The Agudah, who commended the mayor for his responsiveness and thanked him for his assurances, “calls upon members of the media, elected officials nationwide, and all people of good conscience to denounce these and all acts of antisemitism and senseless violence.

    “Those who committed anti-Semitic acts over recent days must be held responsible for their actions and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

 Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

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