Police in Arizona are investigating after a spray-painted swastika and an anti-Semitic slur were found on the door of a Tucson synagogue.
“The congregation is really disappointed. We’re really taken aback,” Rabbi Ram Bigelman of the Chabad on River synagogue told CNN on Tuesday. “We didn’t think such antisemitism existed in our community.”
It is the second synagogue in the city to have been vandalized recently. In May, a rock was thrown through the window of Congregation Chaverim, which is attended by both former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and Arizona state Rep. Alma Hernandez.
“These horrendous antisemitic acts will not be tolerated, and there is no place for hatred in our community,” the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona said in a written statement Tuesday.
The graffiti comes amid a recent string of attacks on Jewish people in the US as tensions flared over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that saw hundreds killed over 11 days, most of them Palestinian, in violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The sides agreed to a ceasefire on May 20.
On Monday, a third person was arrested in connection to an attack on a Jewish man near Times Square during protests in New York City in May, the New York Police Department said.
The NYPD arrested Mahmoud Musa, 23, and is recommending charges of assault as a hate crime and gang assault, the NYPD confirmed to CNN.
CNN has reached out to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to find out what charges Musa will ultimately face.
CNN was not able to immediately identify an attorney for Musa but reached out to the Legal Aid Society to see if they were representing him.
Anti-Semitic incidents in the country have more than doubled from the same time period last year following the conflict, the Anti-Defamation League reported Monday.
Bigelman told CNN he believes the vandalism in Tucson — which included the phrase “dirty k**e” painted in all-capital letters — probably took place Sunday night.
“One of the congregants walked in (Monday), and he saw it while going to shul,” Bigelman said. The synagogue now plans to put in a new security system.
Tucson Police Officer Frank Magos told CNN on Tuesday evening that they have no surveillance footage, and no witnesses have come forward so far.
“Right now, we have detectives with our Street Crimes Interdiction Unit investigating it,” Magos said. “We do not have a suspect identified, and nobody has been detained.”
The graffiti was condemned by Arizona politicians.
“The amount of Jewish hate isn’t shocking. The silence is,” tweeted Hernandez.
Gov. Doug Ducey said on Twitter, “Those responsible must be held accountable. Arizona stands with those of the Jewish faith.”