Jewish Family Harassed in Florida By Anti-Semites; Saved By Armed Witness
Police in Florida are investigating an incident fueled by pure hate in which a group of males terrified a Jewish family visiting from Teaneck, New Jersey. Anti-Semitic slurs were hurled at the family, but the threats were quickly stopped when a man with a gun came between the group and the family.
Eric Orgen, his wife Karen, 16-year-old daughter, and Mark Schwartz, deputy mayor of Teaneck, were visiting Bal Harbour, Florida and had just departed from an area synagogue. While walking on the sidewalk of Collins Avenue, the family was approached by a vehicle carrying four young men in their 20s who began hurling insults at them.
The young men began screaming “F*** you, Jew” and “Die Jew.” According to a Facebook post from Orgen, he claimed the group also said that they were going to rape Orgen’s wife and daughter. The group then threw a water bottle and garbage at the family while screaming “Free Palestine!”
Orgen told WPEC-TV "They just started screaming some derogatory things towards Jewish people out the window. My first thought was just making sure my wife and daughter were behind me so I could take the brunt of anything that was going to happen.”
A driver of an Audi right behind the SUV carrying the four younger men witnessed the harassment and was at the right place at the right time. The witness was armed and jumped out of his car to get between the occupants of the SUV and the family. Orgen said the motorist "pulled his gun to protect us and chased them as they drove away. So thankful that a total stranger stepped up to protect us!”
Orgen told WSVN-TV that he believes the harassment he and his family endured was a hate crime. "It's a scary world we live in but the world is big enough for everyone to live peacefully. We all bleed red.”
Orgen reported the incident to law enforcement, which is investigating the incident.
Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman issued a statement on the alleged incident. He wrote on Facebook, "Bal Harbour Police Department is actively investigating the incident, and I am confident that they will track down the perpetrators. We have ZERO TOLERANCE for criminal conduct in our municipality, and we will do everything in our power to keep all residents and visitors in Bal Harbour safe.”
The mayor of Miami-Dade, Deniella Levine Cava, issued her own statement regarding a string of anti-Semitic incidents that have been occurring in South Florida since the recent events between Israel and Gaza.
Cava said, ”Acts of hate and violence against any community are not tolerated in Miami-Dade County. Hate and intolerance contradict the foundations of our community – a place where so many generations of people found a safe home after fleeing their own countries to build a new life with their families.”
"As a member of the Jewish community and the first Jewish Mayor of Miami-Dade, acts of antisemitism in our County cut especially close to home," she continued. "They also deepen my commitment to ensure Miami-Dade remains a place where all people are welcomed, respected, and made to feel at home, regardless of where they come from or their faith.”
On May 14, Joseph Bounds of Denver, Colorado was arrested by Miami police after driving a van covered in anti-Semitic slurs and swastikas through a pro-Israel rally in Boca Raton. Along with Palestinian flags, the vehicle Bounds was driving had hateful phrases written on it such as “Jew killed Jesus,” “tax the Jews,” “Jews are not white,” and “Hitler was right.” There were also at least six men in attendance who raised their arms in a Nazi salute.
Bounds was arrested for not obeying police orders during a traffic stop.
It’s no surprise that the attacks on the Jewish community is intensifying as the end times draw nearer. We have an obligation to protect our closest ally, Israel, and its people. We also have an obligation to protect our neighbors from hate and discrimination. Although we might not be able to carry a firearm like the brave motorist who defended Orgen and his family, we can use our words, prayers and the resources at our disposal to assist our Jewish friends.
Orgen is right, we all bleed red, so let’s act like it.