Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

14-year-old charged with hate crime in assault on San Diego rabbi

A 14-year-old who had allegedly harassed and assaulted a California rabbi was arrested and charged with a hate crime on Friday, the same day, more than 100 people rallied outside the synagogue bearing signs in support of the rabbi and his community.

Rabbi Yonatan Halevy, 31, was walking with his father to Kehilat Shaar HaShamayim, the Sephardic synagogue he leads, when a teenage boy passed them on a bicycle, before circling back to punch his father on top of the head and shout something about “white power,” according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

After the alleged assault, Halevy said a group of teens including the alleged assailant had already broken the windows of cars belonging to the community before the Oct. 10 punching he reported to the police. Police have not released the arrested teen’s name as he is a minor.

“We don’t want to be dismissive and say it was just kids,” Tammy Gillies, regional director of the San Diego chapter of the ADL said. “We have to take hate and any hate incident very seriously.”

According to the ADL, San Diego has seen about 40 hate crimes a year between 2010 and 2018.

After the attack, Halevy called the police, but said it took them nearly an hour to arrive and they provided little help until, with the help of local media, he managed to elevate the complaint to the head of the department’s Northern Division, Capt. Matt Novak.

“It went from ‘They can’t do anything’ to ‘This is No. 1 priority,’” Halevy said.

“Going forward, we will be having discussions and possibly training with officers to help them better understand and better respond to incidents like these,” said Novak.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.