An Orthodox Jewish emergency-response worker was stabbed in the back on Tuesday evening in New York in what local Jewish leaders say may have been a hate crime.
The off-duty member of the Hatzolah ambulance service was attacked at 8 p.m. Tuesday as he walked down Eastern Parkway near Rogers Avenue in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, police say.
The assailant, who has not been identified or caught, was said to be wearing a Halloween mask. He fled the scene immediately after the stabbing.
The victim, 34, is hospitalized at Kings County Hospital in stable condition. His wounds are not life-threatening, according to police.
“He was out on an evening walk,” Binyomin Lifshitz, a member of the Shomrim Jewish volunteer security group was quoted as saying in the New York Daily News. “The guy passes by him and stabs him and flees toward Nostrand. It was a very deep and large laceration.”
The victim used his Hatzolah radio to call for aid, according to Lifshitz. Other reports say he was walking with friends at the time, and they treated him and called for help.
Police have not indicated whether the attack was believed to be a hate crime, but locals have speculated that it might be an attempt to copy recent Palestinian stabbing attacks against Israeli Jews.
A local Jewish leader told The Algemeiner newspaper that “people have to be very vigilant, there are no coincidences here.
“There are a lot of people that hate us and the haters are going to use every excuse they can to come after Jews,” Zaki Tamir, chairman of the board of the local Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, said. “I don’t know if it is a hate crime or mugging, but it’s hard to imagine it is an isolated incident.”