WASHINGTON - Three cars were torched and anti-Semitic graffiti was spray-painted at the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Midwood in Brooklyn, New York.
Residents were woken up by fire engines early on Friday and were horrified to find three vehicles that were parked on Ocean Parkway – a BMW, a Jaguar and an Audi – burnt to a crisp.
Swastikas, references to the SS and the KKK and the slogan "F*** the Jews" were daubed on nearby vehicles, benches and the sidewalk.
"It's a hate crime - I think it's a jealously of wealth, and then the use of anti-Semitism as a way to express that jealously," said Bobby Tebele, whose mother's car was one of the ones set on fire, the New York Post reported.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement that the city's police were trying to identify those who "attacked cars, benches and a sidewalk."
"The fact that this most recent attack came on the heels of the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht may or may not be a coincidence," he said, referring to the series of state-sanctioned anti-Jewish attacks in Nazi Germany.
"Either way, this kind of hateful act has no place in the freest city in the freest country in the world."
A Jewish New York City Councilman, David Greenfield, has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assailants.
“We will not accept anti-Semitism in our community. There is zero tolerance for such acts of hatred and ignorance,” Greenfield said.
The Anti-Defamation League, in turn, offered a $4,000 reward. A poll conducted by the group recently found that there were 133 anti-Jewish incidents reported across New York, 53 of which took place in Brooklyn.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who lives two blocks away from the scene of the crime, told The New York Times that the area of Brooklyn, including the Midwood and Borough Park neighborhoods, contains one of the largest concentrations of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel.
“The violence – I’m calling it violence when you blow up three cars – adds a sickening dimension to this type of anti-Semitism,” he said.
“All I could think about was my mother sitting on a bench with a swastika. She survived Auschwitz,” he added.