Dems Condemn Arsonist Attack on Jewish Community Center

Dems Condemn Arsonist Attack on Jewish Community Center

Democratic leaders are speaking out after an arsonist tried to burn down a Jewish Community Center

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
March 19, 2024

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—After a transient arsonist set fire to a Rabbi's van outside a Jewish Community Center, Democratic leaders are speaking out on spiking levels of antisemitism in the wake of the October 7th terrorist attack on Israel.

Saturday morning, transient Fort Lauderdale resident Scott Hannaford lit Rabbi Chaim Slavatick's van on fire before unsuccessfully attempting to burn down the city's Jewish Community Center.

Known to trespass on the property in the past, Hannaford was charged with arson, criminal mischief, and possession of cocaine.

“The South Florida Jewish community is once again the victim of deliberate and cowardly attacks," Democratic Rep. Mike Gottlieb, the Chair of Florida's Jewish Legislative Caucus, said in a Tuesday morning statement. "These are just a few of the many examples of the rampant antisemitism that Jews face daily."

This latest attack on the Jewish community is part of a growing problem across the country. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents have risen 337% since 2022, with 34 incidents occurring per day between October 7th and December 7th.

The root of the antisemitism spike, meanwhile, has been traced back to the terrorist group Hamas' October 7th attack on Israel. In just one night, a multitude of women were raped and mutilated, and over 1,000 Israelis were massacred. Since then, the U.S. has seen an unprecedented rise in antisemitic acts.

"This is why the Jewish caucus remains vigilant in helping to pass legislation defining antisemitism and creating criminal penalties for antisemitic and racist activities," Gottlieb said. "We condemn this and all hate crimes and remain committed to fighting for Jews in the diaspora to be able to live and worship freely.”

During this Legislative session, Rep. Gottlieb worked with Sen. Lori Berman to pass a bill defining antisemitism in Florida statute, clearly encapsulating the act into current hate crime laws in the state.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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