Jewish vigilantes to patrol Marine Park

A swastika like this one was left in front of a Marine Park yeshiva last month. Now a group of Jewish vigilantes are looking for some payback.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The vandal who left a swastika in front of a Marine Park yeshiva last month has gotten some unwanted attention — a group of Jewish vigilantes who admittedly have no qualms about cracking heads.

The Jewish Defense Organization, a paramilitary group whose members reportedly pack guns, baseball bats, and chains and hold camps where members are given firearm and martial arts training, has begun sending patrols around Marine Park to find the swastika scrawler and protect other Jewish synagogues and yeshivas from vandalism, according to group spokesman Jeff Klein.

“We will patrol Marine Park as much as is necessary,” said Klein, who claims his group has held similar patrols in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

Klein said his team will grab anyone caught committing a crime against Jews or Jewish property — and they won’t shy away from getting violent if they have to.

“We caught someone attacking a synagogue in Long Island, they got their heads broken in and that put a stop to it,” Klein said. “That’s exactly what we’re going to do if we catch someone doing that in Marine Park.”

The group has attacked vandals they caught toppling over tombstones inside Washington Cemetery in Mapleton, Klein explained.

“We caught them in the act and beat them up good,” Klein said. “We gave them a lesson in Jewish justice.”

Police say the vandal who painted a swastika outside Merkaz Yisroel on Avenue S near E. 33rd Street on June 18 hasn’t been found.

Cops from the 63rd Precinct beefed up patrols in Marine Park in response to the vandalism — and say they do not need any additional help from the Jewish Defense Organization.

Police Officer Thomas Podd, a community affairs officer at the 63rd Precinct, said that cops encourage the help of groups that observe and report — like the Flatbush Shomrim — but condemn private groups who resort to violence. Podd was also skeptical that Jewish Defense Organization members had the proper permits needed to carry firearms as they claim.

“It’s fine to have extra eyes out there, but nobody wants them to be taking the laws into their own hands, especially if they’re carrying weapons they shouldn’t be carrying,” Podd said.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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