A Los Angeles woman is facing a hate crime charge after ramming her vehicle through the gate of a local synagogue and cultural center, The Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday.
Police responded to a call of vandalism at the Eretz Synagogue and Cultural Center in Tarzana, according to the report. The suspect, Tikvah Mottahedeh, 54, is accused of ramming her vehicle into the gates of the building and then proceeding to hit another gate on the property.
Two hours after the crash at the synagogue, Mottahedeh was located by police and arrested on suspicion of hate crime vandalism, according to The Los Angeles Times, which reported that several Facebook and Instagram accounts listed with the name Tikvah Mottahedeh include posts that are critical of the Israeli government, President Biden, former President Trump and Hollywood.
The incident comes days after Paul Kessler, a 69-year-old Jewish man, died from blunt-force head trauma after he was hit in the head with a megaphone during a confrontation with a counterprotester at a Los Angeles protest.
Los Angeles police later said they had questioned the suspect but had not declared the incident a hate crime.
Antisemitic incidents have been on the rise in the US in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.
Two weeks ago, a man yelled "Free Palestine" as he was being taken into custody after trying to break into the home of a Jewish family in the Studio City area of Los Angeles.
Earlier this week, a 21-year-old student was charged with assault after he punched one person and slammed the thumb of another during a pro-Israel demonstration at New York University’s main library.
On Monday, the University of Pennsylvania alerted the FBI of threatening messages its staff members received targeting its Jewish community, and an investigation is underway.