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New York hate crimes unit probing vandalism of menorah in Queens

After a large public menorah was knocked into the street in Queens, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has instructed the US state police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate the incident.

“Jewish New Yorkers should be able to celebrate Hanukkah without being subjected to acts of antisemitic hate,” Hochul tweeted Tuesday night, calling the damage a “disturbing act against our Jewish neighbors.”

The menorah was pushed over into the street in Hollis Hills, a residential Queens neighborhood, over the weekend. Chabad Rabbi Yerachmiel Zalmanov, who erected it, called the police after he saw the damage, according to the New York Daily News. The police responded on Saturday.

A similar menorah at the same street corner, on Union Turnpike and 220th Street, was knocked over twice in 2014, and no arrests were made for those incidents.

Elected officials condemned the damage, which state Assemblyman David Weprin, who is Jewish, said broke most of the menorah’s lights.

“I condemn this despicable act of vandalism as the Jewish community celebrates Hanukkah,” Representative Grace Meng, who represents the neighborhood, said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this disgusting and cowardly behavior, and we must continue to call out these crimes. Those responsible must be held accountable.”

Read More: Times of Israel