$50,000 reward for information on Crown Heights attacker

According to Jewish leader, recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks reminds locals of 1991 Crown Heights anti-Jewish riots.

Tzvi Lev ,

Crown Heights
Crown Heights
Serge Attal/FLASH90

The Chabad community in the New York City neighborhood has offered a USD 50,000 reward on any information that would lead police to the perpetrator of a gruesome anti-Semitic attack this past Saturday.

The offer was made during a press conference on Wednesday in Crown Heights as the community reels from the grisly assault.

The Jewish man had been beaten on Saturday afternoon while walking home from prayers. He told CrownHeights.info that he said “good afternoon” to a man who was smoking a cigar on a street corner.

“As soon as [I greeted] him he began yelling at me ‘you fake Jews, who are you saying hello to? Your fake Jews and you stole all my money and robbed me, and stole my mortgage and my house. I want to kill you!’” the news website quoted the man as saying.

The victim said he walked away from the man quickly but that the assailant caught up with the Jewish man and put him in a chokehold and threatened to kill him.

Two women eventually separated the victim from the assailant and told him to run. He called the Jewish ambulance service Hatzalah from his home, which notified police. The victim sustained a cracked rib along with swelling, bruising and scratches over his body.

Police have launched an investigation into the attack as an assault motivated by bias.

The attack is the second assault in the area in a week. Last week, a Jewish man was assaulted in the same neighborhood as he was walking with another Chabad man late on a Friday night.

According to local leader Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, the recent wave of attacks are causing the Jewish community to fear that they are returning to the tense period leading up to the 1991 anti-Jewish riots.

"There hasn’t been this much fear since August of 1991,” Behrman told the haredi Hamodia magazine, adding that the hostility stemmed from anger at the growing influx of Jews from wealthier areas.

"There is a view being peddled in the streets that gentrification is targeting one segment of the population and that the Jews are immune or even benefiting from it,” he said. "They think that when somebody is suffering and he’s given someone he can target — it may have contributed to some of the anti-Semitism because of the view being peddled by the tenant associations and some of the leadership in the progressive community.”