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STATE OF HATE: Cape Coral Chabad attack part of growing trend of hate crimes

The most recent FBI numbers show a 20% increase in hate crimes involving Jewish people.
State of Hate Viz
Posted at 5:22 PM, Apr 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-28 13:17:37-04

It was a normal Saturday inside Cape Coral’s Chabad Jewish Center a month ago.
As services ended Rabbi Yossi Labkowski and the eight others with him heard a noise.
A man later described as being balding, white and in his 50s was throwing bricks at the window.

“He’s just picking up the stones and throwing it at the door,” said Labkowski.

41 days after the attack, Cape Coral Police arrested 51-year-old Maron Mark Raymon.
Raymon first came onto the radar of law enforcement after we was trespassed from a local Lutheran church.
He told police he worked for the CIA and believed Jewish people were conspiring with the government to stop medical marijuana.

"We realize that this was a horrific act that shook the confidence and the core of our community," Sizemore said at a press conference announcing Raymon's arrest.
"This isn't something that happens in Cape Coral. Unfortunately, we can't say that anymore."

The attack came as hate crimes against Jewish people have increased and the American Jewish Population admits to feeling insecure.
In a new survey from the American Jewish Committee, 41% of American Jewish people said they feel less secure compared to a year ago.
A 10% increase from the year before.

“That is just horrific,” said Brian Lipton, Regional Director of the AJC.

The most recent FBI numbers show a 20% increase in hate crimes involving Jewish people.
Florida saw a 16.5% increase in overall hate crimes, above the national average of 12% increase, during the same time period.

“There are things that have happened to let us know that we need to work together to get rid of the whatever the antisemitism and hate, kind of, things are,” said Jeffrey Feld, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples.

After seeing the rise in antisemitism impact him and his community, Feld calls his relationship with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office critical.

“It’s paramount to the success of thwarting hate thwarting those kinds of things,” Feld said.

A key piece of the rise in antisemitism is seen online.
More than two-thirds (69%) of American Jews told the AJC they’d experienced antisemitism online.
85% of 18 to 29-year-olds say they’ve seen antisemitism on social media.

“Social media today certainly complicates it and makes the hate much more readily available,” said Feld.

The American Jewish Committee is calling for a broad-based approach to fight antisemitism.
That includes increased corporation training, more security at Jewish venues and a national strategy to combat antisemitism.

“Certain, specific action needs to be taken,” said Lipton. “It’s one thing to say antisemitism or hate is a bad thing. It’s another to know what to do.”

The AJC’s survey also found 40% of American Jewish people have changed their behavior and stopped going to some Jewish functions because they don’t feel safe.

Labkowski, who spoke to Fox 4 Investigates during the holy holiday of Passover, says the Jewish community of Cape Coral isn’t willing to be afraid.
He’s noticed increase attendance in the month since the attack.

“The more we educate our children, the more we educate our friends, the more we educate others, we’ll see there’s no room for hate,” said Labkowski. “There’s no reason for hate. There’s no reason for this antisemitism.”

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