JERUSALEM, Israel – An Orthodox Jewish man was stabbed just feet away from a synagogue in New York’s Ramapo suburb Wednesday morning.
Police say the man was left bleeding on the ground and is in critical condition. Authorities are investigating if the attack was an anti-Semitic hate crime.
Police Chief Brad R. Weidel said it was “a vicious, violent attack.”
The New York Times reports that surveillance cameras show the Jewish man walking near a synagogue when a vehicle drove next to him. Someone hopped out on the driver’s side and attacked him for several minutes.
Rockland County, where Ramapo is located, has a significant Jewish population. According to 2018’s census figures, of the 320,000 residents, more than 31 percent of them are Jewish.
While leaders say anti-Semitic attacks are anomalies in this area, Jews are feeling more unsafe.
“It’s like, don’t go alone, see something, say something, don’t be in the street alone,” Rivkie Feiner, a Jewish communal leader who has lived in the area her whole life told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I grew up in a place where, as a kid, people left their doors unlocked. It’s not that place anymore, but this took us to a different place altogether that we didn’t want to be in.”
Anti-Semitism is one the rise in New York cities with large Jewish populations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the state police hate crimes task force to investigate Wednesday’s stabbings.
"This is not an isolated incident, all across the state we've seen an alarming rise in anti-Semitic vandalism and hate-fueled attacks," Cuomo said in a statement. "We cannot allow the cancer of hate to metastasize any further. The escalation of hatred and anti-Semitism must end here and now, and I urge all New Yorkers to denounce hate whenever and wherever they see it."
The Anti-Defamation League, which just released an alarming report about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, is offering a $10,000 reward for anyone with information about Wednesday’s stabbing.