A Jewish man was beaten and robbed on Thursday, the first day of Hanukkah, in an attack that is being investigated as a potential hate crime, New York City police said on Friday.
The violence occurred at about 7:35 p.m. in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, police said in a statement.
That’s when a suspect approached a 40-year-old man “dressed in traditional Jewish attire” and repeatedly punched the victim in the head and stole his cellphone, police said.
The suspect also “made an anti-Jewish statement,” although police did not specify what that statement was.
The suspect then fled into the Kingston Avenue and Eastern Parkway subway station, police said.
The victim, police said, was treated at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital and was in stable condition.
“The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating this as an anti-Jewish incident,” police said.
The suspect sought by police is described as having a thin build. He was seen wearing a black du-rag, a purple scarf around his face, and a matching black jacket and pants with a multicolored design. The suspect also wore brown boots, police said.
Anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts is urged to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS, police said.
There has been a spike in antisemitic incidents across the county since the war in Gaza started, experts have said.
In New York City, which has the largest Jewish population in the country, hate crimes involving Jewish people in October rose more than 160% compared to the same month in 2022, the NYPD has said.
Manhattan prosecutors on Tuesday announced a man was indicted on multiple hate crimes in connection with allegedly punching an Israeli tourist in Times Square in October and making antisemitic remarks such as, “Hamas should kill more of you.”