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UK: 2 Suspects Arrested For Hate Crime, Children Threatened, Mezuzas Ripped From Doors

Two suspects of the violent attack against a Rav near London on Sunday were arrested on Monday for what the police called a hate crime, British media reported.

Police said that the suspects, 18 and 25, were arrested “in connection with a religiously aggravated assault in Chigwell.”

Rabbi Rafi Goodwin, the victim of the assault was hospitalized after suffering a concussion from several blows to his head during the attack.

The incident was only one of a worryingly soaring number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK in recent days, including a convoy of cars boasting Palestinian flags that drove through Golders Green broadcasting threats and obscenities against Jews.

Four men were arrested for the incident but were subsequently released on bail pending further investigation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the British government will support the Jewish community in the wake of the increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents since Operation Guardian of the Walls began in Israel.

The Community Security Trust (CST), a UK-based Jewish organization for security issues, said that it has recorded 106 anti-Semitic incidents since May 8 compared to 19 in the 11 previous days, a fivefold increase. There have been “increasingly serious ‘pro-Palestinian’ antisemitic attacks and anti-Jewish intimidations across London in recent days,” the organization stated.

“There is a particular problem of cars, either individually or in convoys, driving through Jewish neighborhoods, waving Palestinian flags and shouting slogans in a way that is clearly intended to intimidate local Jewish communities,” CST added.

In one incident, a man stopped Jewish children in London and threatened to punch them if they didn’t say they supported Palestine, a Reuters report said.

In another incident, two Jewish families were “petrified” after one found their mezuzah missing from their door while another found her mezuzah on the ground with the klaf removed, scrunched up, and stepped on in the mud, Jewish News reported.

Police are treating both incidents, which occurred at neighboring houses on Monday in Borehamwood, a town near London, as hate crimes.

“At about 5pm yesterday, I picked up a package from Amazon and then saw something on the ground,” Martine Stone, 55, told Jewish News. ” I realized it was my mezuzah, lying on the floor broken. The top had been opened and the parchment had been taken out, scrunched up and then trodden into the mud.

“It had been deliberately sabotaged. That’s what really upset me, the maliciousness of the act. We are the only two Jewish families in this section of our road, which is a beautiful, multicultural neighborhood. I got such a shock.

“We’ve had that mezuzah for years. My son is now 18 and we’ve had it all his life, so it’s very special to us.

“I can’t get that image out of my head of seeing it scrunched up and trodden into the ground. In all my life I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s had a terrible effect. My son and I couldn’t sleep last night and I’ve been throwing up. I think I went into shock.”

Her neighbor Suzie Wilson, 44, whose mezuzah disappeared, told Jewish News that her youngest children are now “petrified”. “My son, who is at secondary school, doesn’t want to walk by himself, while my daughter, who is at primary school, knows someone has targeted her house.”

Both women praised the “incredible” response of the Hertfordshire Police, who committed to increased patrols of the area, which according to Jewish News, has one of the largest Jewish communities in the UK.

In a statement, Hertsmere Chief Inspector Mark Bilsdon said: “I would like to make it clear to the local Jewish community that we will not tolerate anti-Semitism. Please be reassured that thorough inquiries are being carried out to find those responsible and get justice. We have currently got extra patrols in place across Hertsmere; please don’t be afraid to approach us with any concerns when you see us out and about.

“I would also like to reassure you that we have reported these incidents centrally so that it can feed into the wider intelligence picture across the UK. The victims are understandably shaken by what has happened and we will be putting them in touch with a specially trained hate crime officer in case they want extra support.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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