After Monsey stabbing, New York officials vow ‘zero tolerance’ for anti-Semitism

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s ‘horrified’ by mass stabbing, NYC mayor says he won’t let frequent attacks on Jews become ‘the new normal’

Orthodox Jews listen to ex-NY state assemblyman Dov Hikind speak in Monsey, New York, December 29, 2019, following a stabbing rampage late Saturday during a Hanukkah celebration. (AP/Allyse Pulliam)
Orthodox Jews listen to ex-NY state assemblyman Dov Hikind speak in Monsey, New York, December 29, 2019, following a stabbing rampage late Saturday during a Hanukkah celebration. (AP/Allyse Pulliam)

New York officials on Sunday roundly condemned a stabbing rampage at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, near a synagogue, which left five members of the Hasidic Jewish community injured.

A man reportedly used a machete to attack people attending at a residence in the upstate New York town. Two of the victims were in critical condition. Ramapo police said a suspect was in custody.

The attack appeared to be the latest in a string targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City earlier this month.

“I am horrified by the stabbing of multiple people at a synagogue in Rockland County tonight,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism in NY and we will hold the attacker accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Cuomo said he has directed the police’s hate crimes division “to immediately investigate and to use every tool available to hold the attacker accountable to the fullest extent of the law.” He condemned the rampage as a “despicable and cowardly act.”

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said he won’t let attacks on Jews become the “new normal.”

“We will NOT allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for all. The NYPD has deployed a visible and growing presence around Jewish houses of worship on the streets in communities like Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Boro Park,” he tweeted.

“I’ve spoken to longtime friends who, for the first time in their lives, are fearful to show outward signs of their Jewish faith,” he also wrote.

Onlookers including Orthodox Jewish stand on the corner of Forshay Road in Monsey, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, down the street from the scene of a stabbing that occurred late Saturday during a Hanukkah celebration. (AP Photo/Allyse Pulliam)

New York Attorney General Letitia James said she was “deeply disturbed” by the attack.

“There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation,” she said. “I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night.”

She was also joined by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, who wrote in a tweet: “Being Jewish should not mean living in fear. These reports are heartbreaking and horrifying. I want to be very clear: we must redouble our efforts to keep our community safe in the face of rising anti-Semitism.”

The Anti-Defamation League called for stepped-up security for American Jewish communities in the wake of the attack.

An Orthodox Jewish man stands in front of a residence in Monsey, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, following a stabbing late Saturday during a Hanukkah celebration. (AP/Allyse Pulliam)

“After the hateful assaults we saw this past week in Brooklyn and Manhattan, it is heart-wrenching to see the holiday of Hanukkah violated yet again. We are outraged because the answer is clear: the Jewish community NEEDS greater protection,” tweeted ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

“Whether worshiping in synagogue, shopping in the supermarket or celebrating at home, Jews should be safe from violence. We need authorities to provide increased protection NOW and ensure that the full force of the law is brought down on those who perpetrate such horrific crimes.”

Dov Hikind, a former New York legislator who now runs an anti-Semitism watchdog, said New York Jews needed action, not condemnations.

Shaken residents of Monsey, a town about an hour north of New York City that is home to a large and growing ultra-Orthodox community, were also taking to social media to express their fears.

Stabbing at my family's synagogue an hour ago in Monsey. It's truly a miracle that no one in my family was there…

Posted by Aly Frank on Saturday, December 28, 2019

Jewish communities in the New York City metro area were put on edge following a deadly December 10 shooting rampage at a northern New Jersey kosher market.

A police officer and three people who had been inside the store in Jersey City were killed in the shootout —  Joseph Seals, Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, Mindel Ferencz, Moshe Deutsch —  two of them members of the local Satmar Hasidic communities. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attack was driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement.

Around New York City, police have gotten at least six reports this week — and eight since December 13 — of attacks possibly propelled by anti-Jewish bias.

The Saturday night mass stabbing occurred a month after a man was stabbed while walking to a Monsey synagogue. The man required surgery. It’s unknown if the person suspected in that stabbing has been arrested.

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