Members and supporters of the Jewish community come together for a candlelight vigil in Washington, DC.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty
Update, 3:24 pm ET: President Trump responded on Sunday to the anti-Semitic attacks in a township north of New York City. He called the attacks, which injured five people, “horrific.” He continued: “We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism.”
The anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, on the 7th night of Hanukkah last night is horrific. We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism. Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2019
Five people were stabbed and wounded at a Hanukkah gathering in a suburb north of New York City on Saturday night. All were taken to the hospital and one person is reported to have been gravely injured, according to police, who identified the suspect as Grafton E. Thomas, a 37-year-old from Greenwood Lake, New York.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement late Saturday night calling the attack a “despicable and cowardly act.” He also said that he is directing the state police’s hate crimes task force to investigate.
I am horrified by the stabbing of multiple people at a synagogue in Rockland County tonight.
We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism in NY and we will hold the attacker accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
NY stands with the Jewish community. pic.twitter.com/JILUoFXJc9
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 29, 2019
The attack happened in a small town called Monsey, which has become home to a growing community of Hasidic Jewish families. According to witnesses, more than 100 people were gathered in the home of a rabbi to celebrate the seventh day of Hanukkah. Aron Kohn, 65, who witnessed the attack, recounted some of the horrifying details in the New York Times. “We saw him pull a knife out of a case, it was about the size of a broomstick,” Kohn said. “I was praying for my life. He started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door. We didn’t have time to react at all.”
This is the second high-profile anti-Semitic attack in the region in less than a month; on December 10, two people opened fire inside a Kosher market in Jersey City. The New York Times reports at least eight anti-Semitic incidents across New York City in just the last two weeks.
On Sunday morning, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for a “thorough federal investigation” into the recent uptick in anti-Semitic attacks.
The attack last night in Monsey was an act of pure evil.
The cascade in anti-Semitic attacks is outrageous throughout metropolitan New York and America, and must not be tolerated.
We need a thorough federal investigation of this specific attack and all of the recent attacks. https://t.co/6SVoEtSflz
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 29, 2019
The AP reports that Police Chief Brad Weidel said the suspect will face five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.
New York City has long been home to a large Jewish community. Sunday morning, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Oren Segal, Anti-Defamation League vice president, said. “We are in an epidemic in New York City, of all places, for the Jewish community.”