Police have been told to step up patrols in Jewish communities across New York following recent antisemitic attacks, including one over the weekend that had a teen victim in a chokehold.
Officers from the NYPD and New York State Police have been instructed to increase patrols around Jewish educational and religious center in the city, as well as Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
The NYPD is still on the lookout for three suspects wanted in connection with two weekend incidents. And on Monday, a rabbi came forward to share his experience of harassment days earlier.
“I don’t know how the story would have ended if I wasn’t at Chase Bank because there was no security. No police," Rabbi Mendy Steiner explained Monday.
He was on his way to work around 10:30 a.m. Friday at his office on 39th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan when he says a man on a bicycle verbally assaulted him.
"And he said to me, 'you're killing my innocent children, you're killing my innocent children, and I'm going to kill you.' Those are the words he said to me," Steiner said.
Steiner ran into the nearby Chase Bank for help only for the man on the bike to follow him inside. The rabbi said some of the bank employees rushed to his aid and called 911. On Monday, Steiner brought a platter of food to the Garment District bank to thank the workers who helped him.
While not physically hurt, the rabbi said he wasn't sure about walking to work alone anytime soon. While the additional mounted patrols and state troopers in Jewish communities is a start, some are calling for federal help.
The incident is one of the numerous antisemitic hate crimes in New York City since the violence escalated in Israel. More attacks happened over the weekend. Police are looking for three people responsible for two incidents involving verbal harassment and cars vandalized outside a synagogue in Borough Park.
After meeting with community leaders on Sunday and promising a stronger police presence and more arrests over the coming days, Mayor Bill de Blasio again addressed the attacks during his Monday morning press conference.
“We have seen some acts in the last few days, acts of violence and acts of hatred that are absolutely unacceptable and have caused a lot of pain honestly. [I've] talked with members of the Jewish community who have felt hurt every way," he said. "It goes against everything New York City is about and we won't tolerate it."
Gov. Cuomo has pledged the support of the state police to respond to the rising incidents of hate.
"In the wake of the unacceptable recent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes nationwide, I am proactively deploying State Troopers to provide security at Jewish religious, educational, and community facilities," Cuomo said Monday.
Rabbi Steiner returned to the Garment District on Monday to bring a platter of food to the Chase Bank where he sought refuge Friday. He said he wanted to thank the workers who helped protect him.
In other recent alleged antisemitic incidents in the city, one of the suspects wanted for a gang-style assault of a Jewish man in Times Square last week has been arrested, according to police.
Police said 25-year-old Faisal Elezzi of Staten Island was one of at least five men who participated in the last Thursday's beatdown amid demonstrations that brought out both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian supporters to midtown Manhattan. A graphic video shows a group of people beating on 29-year-old Joseph Borgen in the middle of the street.
Borgen says he suffered the brutal beating at the hand of an angry mob allegedly yelling antisemitic slurs. Elezzi is facing hate crime charges for assault, menacing and aggravated assault, according to the NYPD.