A heavily Jewish neighborhood in San Antonio was the target of vandals this past Wednesday as over 30 cars and homes were spray-painted with anti-Semitic graffiti that included swastikas, references to the Ku Klux Klan and slurs often accompanied with anti-Semitic attacks, according to local reports.
The neighborhood is home to Congregation Rodfei Sholom (RSC). Most of the 300 families that belong to the synagogue reside where the attacks occurred.
“(We are) saddened and outraged,” RSC board member Howard Feinberg told the San Antonio Express-News, “When we were finishing our morning prayers around 7 a.m., we became aware that in the neighborhood around our synagogue, there was a lot of graffiti of the anti-Semitic and racial nature.”
According to the local ABC affiliate, The San Antonio Police Department is investigating about a dozen similar crimes. They are uncertain if they are connected and are asking for surveillance video from neighborhood residents.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the San Antonio Police Department investigation into this attack. Sholom Drive and Sholom Place, streets that border the congregation, appear to be the center of the vehicle and building damage.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an anti-Semitic crime has not been reported in San Antonio in over two years.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released the following statement on the anti-Semitic vandalism:
Today’s discovery of racially targeted and anti-Semitic vandalism in a San Antonio Jewish community is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Texas.
This criminal and cowardice act has no place in any Texas community. I denounce the religious persecution that has taken place and I am confident the San Antonio Police Department will find those responsible for the delinquency and hold them accountable.
“I want to tell those who did this that you have done something destructive,” Rabbi Arnold Scheinberg of Rodfei Shalom told News Radio 1200 WOAI. “Your life could be much better if you could have more love than hate. We’re sorry for you; we are sorry the way you express your life.”
Scheinberg was joined by Pastor John Hagee, of Hagee Ministries and Christians United for Israel. According to Mr. Hagee, the rabbi has been his “dear friend of over 34 years.”
“As soon as I heard this had happened, Diana (wife) and I came down immediately to express our solidarity with the rabbi, with his congregation and the Jewish community in the city of San Antonio,” Mr. Hagee said. “I want to say to all of the Christians in America, we stand with the Jewish people. An attack against this synagogue is an attack against Christians everywhere. If a line has to be drawn, draw it around both Christians and Jews, we are united.”
Rabbi Scheinberg expressed his gratitude for the “love and support” of the local community and Christian community:
“That gives us tremendous strength. Good will overcome evil and of course love will overpower hatred.”
A call to the San Antonio Police Department Media Services requesting an update on suspects and leads has not yet been returned.