Six anti-Semitic incidents occurred across the region in the first 10 days of December.
The Arizona regional office of the Anti-Defamation League reports that almost all the incidents took place in the Valley, with one occurring in Yuma.
Carlos Galindo-Elvira, ADL regional director, said that although he could not say for sure whether the incidents were connected to Chanukah, the vandalism spree stopped when the holiday ended.
In Yuma, swastikas and racial slurs were spray painted on a new outdoor mural at a Del Sol Market. Along with the swastikas, the mural was also defaced with the n-word, the word “Mexico” crossed out and “KKK.” Galindo-Elvira said police in Yuma are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Here in the Valley, a swastika and the letters WP, which stand for white power, were found scratched in a bathroom stall at a movie theater in Surprise.
In Scottsdale, an elderly woman found a piece of paper on her doorstep with a swastika drawn on it the morning after she lit the menorah in her home.
“She feels unsafe right now,” Galindo-Elvira said. “The even sadder part of this is that this is the second time she has been singled out. Two years ago, her mezuzah was broken off her door. In this latest incident, we’re reaching out to Scottsdale Police to provide them information, but she really is quite shaken.”
Anti-Semitic vandalism also occurred at two schools. At Camelback High School, a swastika was drawn in a stairwell.
“The school, through the advocacy of one parent, reached out to ADL to inquire about resources to share with teachers and students,” Galindo-Elvira said. “They also wanted to make sure that it was reported as a part of our audit on anti-Semitism that we do every year.”
At the second school, a swastika was scratched into a gym door. Galindo-Elvira said he could not yet reveal the name of that high school.
Finally, a piece of paper folded into the shape of a swastika was found next to a menorah display at a Target in Chandler.
The anti-Semitic incidents during Chanukah 2018 were less aggressive than those that occurred during Chanukah in 2016. That year, a Chandler family’s outdoor menorah was twisted into a swastika. At Temple Beth Shalom and the Jewish Community Center of the Northwest Valley in Sun City, a truck rammed into the base of a menorah and twisted two of its arms. The vandals also kicked over the synagogue’s Holocaust memorial.
According to the ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, 2017 marked Arizona's largest single-year increase of anti-Semitic incidents on record.
The report listed 26 incidents for Arizona in 2017, including 19 cases of harassment, six incidents of vandalism and one case of assault. JN