Swastikas were daubed on cars and buildings across a Jewish Community in North London on Sunday night, leaving residents “shocked and fearful”. Twenty-seven cars were targeted, and the mark was even found on the walls of a primary school.
The vandalism has prompted police to step up patrols in Stoke Newington, North London, which is home to 20,000 Haredi Jews. The police were accompanied by members of the local volunteer Shomrim group, a sort of Neighbourhood Watch group.
Meir Taub, a volunteer with the group told MailOnline: “There is a large Jewish community that lives here with Holocaust survivors and children of Holocaust survivors and to see Swastikas is not a pleasant thing for them. People were shocked, scared and fearful. A lot of damage was caused to a lot of vehicles and there was a lot of concern.”
Barry Bard, the group’s coordinator said: “Shomrim are committed to bring a stop to these senseless and mindless acts of vandalism, and are working closely with the Police investigation to assist in every possible way.”
Last night a 32 year old man was arrested in connection with the vandalism. Hackney Police took to Twitter to announce “With the help of @ShomrimOfficial a 32 year old man has been arrested & is in custody for the anti Semitic criminal damage series in N16.”
“We will not tolerate anti-semitism or racism of any kind. We are doing our utmost to trace and bring to justice the suspects involved in this racist graffiti as well as reassure all of our communities,” said Hackney Police Inspector Jeoff Bull.
Anti-Semitism has been massively on the rise across Europe this year, with the total number of anti-Semitic attacks recorded in the UK expected to be the highest on record for over 30 years. The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain expects the total number of incidents for 2014 to top 1,000, although the full results won’t be available until February. If it does reach that mark, it will be the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the group in a single year since their foundation in 1984.
The previous highest figure was 931 attacks, recorded in 2009. This year, the CST recorded 302 anti-Semitic incidents in July alone, a 400 percent increase on the figures for July 2013, in which 59 incidents were recorded.
Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “The sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the summer may have been occasioned by events in Gaza but much of the behaviour was pure anti-Semitism and had nothing to do with the Middle East. Such behaviour is totally unacceptable.
“We live in a tolerant society with a government and all political parties committed to fighting prejudice and anti-Semitism, but we cannot afford to be complacent. As Lord Sacks [the former Chief Rabbi] says, ‘anti-Semitism is a light sleeper’.”