TEL AVIV – A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the conviction of a suspect who viciously assaulted an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man as he was walking home from Shabbat services in New York City.
New York State representative Dov Hikind made the announcement on behalf of an anonymous philanthropist from Los Angeles.
The victim, 52-year-old Menachem Moskowitz, was choked and beaten in the middle of the day, sustaining a cracked rib as well as a black eye, swelling and bruising. His attacker had told him he “hated Jews” and threatened to kill him.
It was the second attack within a week against Jewish victims in the same neighborhood.
“There’s one violent incident after another; one attack after another — always on innocent, vulnerable members of the Jewish community, and always with a racist, anti-Semitic message,” said Assemblyman Hikind, a Democrat from Brooklyn, in a statement.
“The Crown Heights community feels like they are under siege and this has to stop immediately. The police must increase their protection of these innocent people.”
“Will Brooklyn become like Paris now?” asked Hikind. “Will we start seeing people attacked with racial slurs on a regular basis? Do Jews here really have to fear for their lives from criminal thugs? We need a strong and immediate response to these hate crimes, and I won’t rest while this continues!”
Footage of the attack emerged Monday.
“I turned around and I see that he’s right behind me and he jumped me. And then he said ‘I hate Jews,’” Moskowitz told CBS. “He put me in a headlock and I’m trying to maneuver out of him. In the meantime, I’m screaming ‘Help! Help! Help! Help!’ He says, ‘You don’t need help. I’m going to kill you right here.’”
Moskowitz told the CrownHeights.info news website that he said, “Good afternoon” to a man who was smoking a cigar on a street corner.
“As soon as [I greeted] him, he began yelling at me, ‘You fake Jews, who are you saying hello to? You’re fake Jews and you stole all my money and robbed me, and stole my mortgage and my house. I want to kill you!’” the news website quoted the man as saying.
Moskowitz said he walked away from the man quickly but that the assailant caught him and put him in a choke-hold and threatened to kill him.
Two people eventually separated them and told Moskowitz to run. He called the Jewish ambulance service Hatzalah from his home, which notified police.
“Two nurses came. Medical, wearing white. Male and female,” he told CBS.
“There’s fear. There’s a lot of fear. The thing we know is that, unfortunately, there are people out there who want to kill us for one reason — because we are Jews,” his wife Channah told CBS.
Last week, another Jewish man was attacked by three black men and two black women. One of the men asked the victim if he wanted to fight and proceeded to kick and punch him, before fleeing the scene.
The Anti-Defamation League announced on Sunday that it is offering $5,000 rewards for information leading to the convictions of the people behind both attacks.
“We unequivocally condemn these senseless assaults,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York regional director. “We appreciate the leadership of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, who are investigating these assaults as hate crimes. Hopefully, these rewards will encourage anyone who may have seen something to come forward.”
In New York, anti-Semitic incidents have increased over 90 percent in 2017, according to the ADL.