San Diego Cops Arrest 14-Year-Old Boy for Antisemitic Assault on Rabbi
A San Diego teenage boy was arrested by police last Friday in connection with a violent assault on a rabbi in the University City neighborhood the previous weekend.
The 14-year-old was booked into Juvenile Hall on battery and hate crime charges, San Diego Police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said. On the previous Saturday, Oct. 10, the teen was alleged to have punched Rabbi Yonatan Halevy of the Shiviti Congregation to the ground as he walked to synagogue with his father for Shabbat services.
Halevy explained that the teen had ridden past him on a bike, and then abruptly turned and punched him in the face. After regaling the rabbi with insults and a reference to “white power,” he rode off laughing, Halevy told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“I was shocked, stunned, and hurt, but was grateful that my father was unharmed,” the rabbi recalled.
Halevy said that the synagogue had been targeted by a group of teens, including the alleged assailant, for a few weeks before the attack. They had been heckled and a car window was broken, he said.
Even before the attack on Halevy, the Anti-Defamation League’s regional director had highlighted the problems faced by the synagogue.
“We don’t want to be dismissive and say it was just kids,” the ADL’s Tammy Gillies said. “We have to take hate and any hate incident very seriously.”
Following the assault on the rabbi, Gillies labeled it a “message crime.”
“It doesn’t just impact the target, but its a message to the whole community that says, ‘We don’t want you here,” Gillies noted. “That is the double impact of the hate crime.”