The New York Police Department (NYPD) has identified the alleged offender in a hate crime incident at a Brooklyn playground recently. Ashish Prashar was with his 18-month-old son at the playground when a woman approached him and scolded him for wearing a keffiyeh – a headscarf that symbolizes support for Palestinians.
“Do you support Hamas? They are terrorists,” the woman said before she appeared to throw her phone and a hot cup of coffee at him. Neither Prashar nor his young son were injured during the incident.
Mr. Prashar published a recording of the incident online, and almost two weeks later, NYPD announced they had made an arrest. Police detained Hadasa Bozakkaravani on November 21 and charged her with a variety of offenses, including assault, assault of a person under 11, reckless endangerment, aggravated harassment, and menacing. She pleaded not guilty on all counts and was released on her own recognizance.
Press reports indicate a rise in hate crimes associated with Israel’s war with Hamas across the United States – much of which is aimed at Jews. The Jewish Federations of North America reported widespread fear among Jewish communities in America, with many Jews saying they feel a need to conceal their religious identity.
Synagogues and Jewish centers have increased security measures in light of numerous threats, and Jewish students have faced large antisemitic protests and personal attacks.
Arabs and Muslims also report a rise in hate incidents toward them, with some alleging physical assault. Abdallah Jwayyed, a Palestinian-American, told CNN he has started to carry a concealed weapon and has removed a Palestinian flag from his car.
Others responded to a CNN survey saying they had never before experienced the fear they felt since the eruption of the war between Israel and Hamas after the murder of 1,400 Israeli civilians on October 7.
The Jewish advocacy group the Anti-Defamation League also says there has been a 75% increase in antisemitic incidents in America since the terror attack.