December 29, 2019

5 people have reportedly been stabbed at a rabbi's home in Monsey, New York

Monsey, New York - A suspect has been arrested Sunday for allegedly stabbing and wounding five people at a synagogue in Rockland County, according to the New York Police Department. 

According to police, a suspect entered a synagogue known as Rabbi Rottenburg’s Shul, located in the Forshay neighborhood in Monsey, Saturday and pulled out a machete, which he used to stab people. Two people were critically injured, according to Reuters.

A witness close to the events told The Jerusalem Post that two of the injured were two of Rabbi Rottenburg's young children. They are in stable condition.



A police official told local media that a possible suspect and a vehicle had been located by NYPD in the 32nd Precinct, which serves the northeastern portion of Harlem.
"We are closely monitoring the reports of multiple people stabbed at a synagogue in Monsey, NY (Rockland County)," a representative of the New York City Police Department Counterterrorism Bureau tweeted shortly after the incident.

"Aware of reports of a stabbing in Monsey, NY at a synagogue," ADL New York tweeted around the same time. " We are on the way to the scene to gather more information and coordinate with law enforcement." And the Secure Community Network, the national homeland security initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America, noted that it "has been in touch with relevant partners, including @jewishrockland, and will continue to monitor and update."
Videos of the stabbing attack began disseminating on social media around 5:30 a.m. Israel time, with first reports by the Orthodox website Vos Iz Neias.

Motti Seligson, director of media for Chabad.org, told The Jerusalem Post that the congregants, Hassidim, were gathered for a Hanukkah party.

According to Vos Iz Neias, a black male entered the synagogue and pulled out a machete, then removed its cover and started stabbing people. The Orthodox Jews Public Affairs Council of the area posted on Twitter that five people were stabbed.

At least one of those injured was reportedly stabbed in the chest.

A local resident tweeted, "Please say tehillim for Yosef ben Perel and Shlomo ben Vittel." And Frum News Report put out a message to, "Please pray for 71 year-old Rabbi Yossel Neiman, who was critically injured by 2 machete wielding terrorists in an anti-Semitic attack in #Monsey, NY this evening."

Hatzalah emergency response team was on scene and victims were transferred to the hospital. 
The perpetrator allegedly ran out of the synagogue after the event and escaped in a silver vehicle. One of the congregants saw the perpetrator's license place and police are searching for him.

An editor for the Jewish website The Forward, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, spoke with someone on the scene who described the situation as follows: "The perpetrator came into the rabbi’s house, started stabbing people. Someone took a small table, threw it at him & chased him out. He ran next door to the synagogue, but they blocked the door & he couldn’t get in. He turned around & ran, jumped into a car."

OJPAC offered a further description on Twitter: "One of the victims was stabbed at least 6 times. The fifth/least severe case had a cut in his hand. Perp left in a vehicle with tag number HPT-5757 per the person who saw it and we confirmed it with him directly (but it was dark and rushed.) a Gray Nissan Sentra.

"2 of the victims of the attack were taken into hospital as critical," the Twitter thread continued. "The perp's face was partially covered with a scarf but skin showed him to be an African American."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo published an open letter informing the community that "I am directing the State Police hate crimes task force to immediately investigate and to use every tool available to hold the attacker accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

"Let me be clear: antisemitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate," he continued. "You do not represent New York and your actions will not go unpunished," added the governor in a final comment directed at the perpetrator.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wrote on Twitter, "This is absolutely horrible. Much more needs to be done immediately to keep Jewish communities safe."

Similarly, Congressman Ted Deutch condemned the incident, saying that, "This horrific violence against the Jewish community must be confronted by everyone in America." New York State Attorney-General Letitia James tweeted, "There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation. I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night."

Also, Dov Hikind, a former New York State assemblyman, tweeted, "An attack on one Jew, is an attack on all Jews.

"We are in route to the scene to be there to stand with the community and to do whatever we can to be of assistance," he concluded.

Former US Special Envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, reacted strongly: "Horrible!!!" he tweeted. "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.
He called on people to "pray for the wounded of this & the other recent attacks upon Jews in NY this week."

Chizhik-Goldschmidt added: "There are no words to describe the anxiety of this moment." 

As news of the event arrived in Israel, local leaders began to respond, as well. President Reuven Rivlin disseminated a statement expressing "shock" and "outrage.

"The rise of antisemitism is not just a Jewish problem, and certainly not just the State of Israel’s problem," Rivlin said. "We must work together to confront this evil, which is raising its head again and is a genuine threat around the world.”

Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Liberman expressed stronger sentiments: "Again and again, we are witnessing the dire consequences of antisemitism," he tweeted. "Alongside the deep grief and best wishes for the injured, it is important to know that the main solution to such phenomena is immigration to Israel."

StopAntisemitism.org tweeted a photo of Rabbi Rottenburg minutes before the attack.

Source: jpost