February 18, 2020

Multiple Stabbings at the Home of a Monsey Rabbi

Police outside the scene of a machete attack in Monsey New York on December 28, 2019. (Screengrab from social media posted on Vos Iz Neias website.)

(JTA) — A man wielding a machete walked into a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York and stabbed at least five people.

In a series of tweets, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council of the Hudson Valley said that five Hasidic Orthodox Jews were taken to hospital on Saturday night, two in critical condition.

The Council said the assailant was an African American male, his face partially masked with a scarf. It said the attack took place at 9:50 pm Eastern Time.

The NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau said it is “closely monitoring the reports of multiple people stabbed at a synagogue” in Rockland County, New York. The Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey said it’s also aware of reports and is on the way to the scene in Monsey.

New York State Attorney General Leticia James said she was “deeply disturbed” by Saturday’s incident.

“I am deeply disturbed by the situation unfolding in Monsey, New York tonight,” she tweeted. “There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation. I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night.”

New York City Mayor Bill De Balsio said he won’t let attacks on Jews become the “new normal.”

“We will NOT allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for all. The NYPD has deployed a visible and growing presence around Jewish houses of worship on the streets in communities like Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Boro Park,” he tweeted.

“I’ve spoken to longtime friends who, for the first time in their lives, are fearful to show outward signs of their Jewish faith,” he also wrote.

Yossi Gestetner, a co-founder of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) for the Hudson Valley region, told the New York Times one of the Monsey stabbing victims is a son of the rabbi.

“The house had many dozens of people in there,” Gestetner said. “It was a Hanukkah celebration.”

The stabbings in Monsey come on the heels of apparently anti-Semitic attacks reported throughout New York during Hanukkah.

There has been a proliferation of attacks on Orthodox Jews in the New York-New Jersey area in recent weeks, including an attack on a Jersey City kosher supermarket earlier this month that killed six people. A man and a woman killed during the clash were identified as responsible; the man was a black nationalist.

This is a developing story.

The Times of Israel contributed to this report.