Man threatens to kill Brooklyn rabbi; police increase presence in NYC Jewish neighborhoods

Local News

A Borough Park, Brooklyn man, fearing for his life, joined a growing number of Jewish New Yorkers who are calling on police to offer more protection after falling victim to threats and harassment. 

Rabbi Mendel Steiner said he was threatened in the Garment District on Friday as he walked to work. 

“They come wherever they see a Jew and come after them,” said Rabbi Steiner.  “The guy said ‘I want to kill you, you killed my kids.’”

Rabbi Steiner, 51, said a Palestinian man chased him and blocked him with his bike.

He said he couldn’t find police or security anywhere and eventually found safety inside a nearby Chase bank.

Steiner then called police and filed a report.

He joins a growing number of victims of antisemitic harassment linked to the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip. While a cease-fire in the Middle East remains in effect, violence around the tri-state region continued over the weekend.

In Brooklyn, police said a group of people assaulted two Jewish teens by demanding they yell antisemitic statements and then beating up the teens when they refused.

During another incident, surveillance images show three teens harassing worshipers at local synagogues before vandalizing a car.

Police say at one point, they stormed a synagogue and yelled death threats.

Last week, more than two dozen people were arrested on charges including hate crime assault after pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrators clashed in Times Square.

President Joe Biden condemned the attacks on Twitter.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said there will be consequences for anyone who commits these crimes.

“We have to stop it. And if there’s one place it needs to be stopped once and for all it’s right here in New York City, and we will do that,” he said. “We will stomp it out. No place for antisemitism in New York City.

Rabbi Steiner’s neighbors demand the federal government step in to investigate and prosecute these crimes under civil rights statutes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the New York State Police to increase patrols at downstate synagogues, schools and other Jewish community facilities following the recent antiemitic attacks in New York and around the country.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is also on high alert and investigating these incidents.

In the wake of these attacks, more police officers have been dispatched to neighborhoods around the five boroughs. 

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