Suspect in New York Hanukkah Stabbings Charged With Federal Hate Crimes

Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg is seen in a patrol vehicle near his residence in Monsey, New York, U.S., December 29, 2019. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

The suspect in the stabbing of five people at a Hanukkah party on Saturday has been charged with federal hate crimes.

The male suspect was charged Monday with five counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill after he allegedly invaded a rabbi’s home and attacked a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, New York, injuring five people with a machete, including the rabbi’s son.

The suspect was arrested in Manhattan within two hours of the attack He was caught on surveillance video footage leaving the scene of the attacks.

FBI investigators said they dicovered journal entries in the suspect’s home that “express anti-Semitic sentiments.” The journal entries reportedly referenced Adolf Hitler and Nazis, and his internet search history included queries such as “German Jewish Temples near me,” “Why did Hitler hate the Jews?” and “Prominent companies founded by Jews in America.”

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On Saturday night before the attack, the suspect also used his phone to open an article titled “New York City Increases Police Presence in Jewish Neighborhoods After Possible Anti-Semitic Attacks. Here’s What To Know.”

The federal judge in the case ordered the suspect detained after he appeared in court Monday afternoon. He previously pled not guilty to five counts of attempted murder.

The suspect’s family released a statement on the attacks, saying he has a “long history of mental illness and hospitalizations” but “no history of like violent acts” and “no known history of anti-Semitism.”

The attack follows a slew of other attacks against Jewish communities in New York, including an uptick of violence in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

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