Police say that anti-Semitism was not behind the brutal attack of a 51-year-old Hasidic man in Williamsburg on Friday night — but that didn’t stop local politicians and their religious backers from rallying on Sunday.
Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) and other elected officials called upon the NYPD to step up patrols in South Williamsburg, home to tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews, especially on the weekend when observant Jewish private security forces curtail their patrols to observe Shabbat, the day of rest.
“Residents ought to be able to walk down their own streets without fear of being attacked,” said Levin. “We need increased police patrols in order to ensure the safety of New Yorkers of all religions.”
Levin was echoed by Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organizations.
“Immediate action must be taken to ensure that our community is safe,” he said. “Our city is said to be one of the safest in the country, but Williamsburg also needs to be safe. Williamsburg cannot go on with such violence and hate.”
Police say that Friday night’s victim was on Lee Avenue near Ross Street at 8:39 pm when the perp approached and asked him if he had any food.
When the man said no, the thug punched him several times in his head, fracturing the victim’s skull before fleeing.
Several neighbors found the victim unconscious on the street and called the police. He was brought to Bellevue Hospital that night, treated over the weekend and released. Police investigated the incident and determined that the attack was not a hate crime.
The attack was the first significant assault against a Hasidic man since last Nov. 25, when three perps knocked a 26-year-old Yeshiva teacher unconscious on Wallabout Street.
This year, assaults overall are up 11 percent in the 90th Precinct.
Hasidic residents are especially on edge this month.
The attack in Williamsburg occurred five blocks from a site where anti-Semitic graffiti was found scrawled on a playground wall on Nov. 4.
And Midwood residents awoke to a distressing scene of torched vehicles and hateful graffiti scrawled on cars and park benches on Friday morning.
Reach reporter Moses Jefferson at firstname.lastname@example.org.