North Carolina sees spike in reported anti-Semitic attacks, harassment

NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV) - New data released Thursday shows that North Carolina has seen a "significantly higher" number of reports of anti-Semitic incidents this year.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, North Carolina, Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia have seen a spike of reported anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 compared to 2016. Officials also say there was an increase in the number of reported incidents following the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville that happened in August.

There have been 15 incidents of anti-Semitic harassment or vandalism in North Carolina so far in 2017, a press release from ADL stated. Maryland has had the highest number with 23 reported anti-Semitic incidents reported so far this year.

Doron Ezickson, who is the Washington, DC regional director of ADL, released this statement:

"The increase in anti-Semitic incidents in our region is concerning. The violence in Charlottesville and the increasingly aggressive efforts by white supremacists to recruit on college campuses demonstrate that these groups not only feel empowered, but also are no longer limiting their activities to the Internet."

In total, there have been a total of 1,299 anti-Semitic incidents including physical assaults, vandalism and attacks on Jewish institutions in 2017, according to the ADL. The ADL reported that the total "represents a 67 percent increase over the same period in 2016."

According to the organization, there has also been "a growing number of anti-Semitic bullying and vandalism incidents in schools and on college campuses in the region."

In September, someone drew a swastika in black marker on the back door of a Jewish's couple home in southwest Charlotte on Sept. 21.

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The day before, the couple said they were in Temple for high holy Jewish days. They told WBTV that "on the most sacred days of the year, we spend all day basically praying in a Temple. We came home in the afternoon. Everything was fine. We left here at about quarter to five to go for cleansing of the sins. We were gone for less than an hour and a half."

While they were gone, someone drew a swastika on their glass door.

"It's a symbol of hate. With today's society's actions and all this hate, it just dumbfounds me" the man said.  "We're outraged. We feel violated."

A few months prior, someone painted a swastika on the road in the same neighborhood and there was an arrow pointing to the same house where the swastika was drawn.

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