VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A local Jewish leader is responding to a nationwide increase in anti-Semitic incidents.
Rabbi Israel Zoberman is longtime leader in Hampton Roads and a member of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission.
He says the incidents that have happened in other areas, such as threats to Jewish community centers and vandalism to Jewish cemeteries, are deeply troubling.
“I don’t think we have faced such a scenario of anti-Semitic scenario for a long, long time,” Zoberman told News 3’s Todd Corillo Tuesday.
He says it’s important for people to come together and take a stand against hatred.
“What we expect and need is for officials to stand up and to speak against Antisemitism,” Zoberman commented. “There are some very serious lessons that have to be repeated time and again apparently. Hatred in any form cannot be tolerated in our great democracy.”
Senator Tim Kaine released a statement Tuesday condemding anti-Semitic incidents across the country:
“I am saddened and outraged by the recent rise of anti-Semitic incidents across our nation, including vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers and day schools. Just yesterday, the Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax County was the target of a bomb threat, one of 31 similar incidents targeting Jewish centers and schools across the nation in a single day. There is nothing more cowardly than targeting institutions where our children go to learn and thrive. I want to express my deep solidarity and support to America’s Jewish community and to all who are victims of hateful threats and actions. I strongly condemn these terrifying incidents, which must be rejected.
“It is no coincidence that we are witnessing a rise in hate speech and crimes targeting minority groups in America, including more than 100 bomb threats against Jewish entities since the beginning of this year and a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslims in 2015. Divisive political rhetoric has sadly contributed to a climate where individuals who espouse hate feel emboldened.
“The Administration must speak out clearly, consistently, and forcefully against the rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes impacting communities across our nation. But words are not enough. I urge the Administration to outline to Congress and to the American people how it plans to respond to this threat, including bringing to justice the individuals or groups behind these incidents, and taking the necessary steps to effectively deter these threats in the future.