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Jewish Man’s Kippah Burned, Wife Assaulted at Pro Palestinian Rally in Cleveland

A Cleveland Heights supporter of Israel who attempted to counter-protest at a pro-Palestinian rally May 14th at Crocker Park in Westlake said he and his wife were both assaulted and his yarmulke was burned.

“They burnt my kipah, there’s no equivalency here,” Alec Popivker told the Cleveland Jewish News.

Popivker and his wife, Sarah Nurit Gammon Popivker, who attend Congregation Zemach Zedech in Cleveland Heights, were carrying Israeli flags and video recorded themselves.

Popivker said Westlake police placed him in a cruiser for part of the time and later allowed him to continue to “exercise my First Amendment rights.”

Capt. Gerald Vogel of the Westlake Police Department told the CJN May 19 Popivker was placed in a cruiser because “it was a melee situation.” Vogel said they were trying “to get control of the situation. It was a big, angry crowd. He was pretty angry himself, which I understand.”

Police are gathering video to present to a prosecutor, Vogel said. “If we can identify any crimes that were committed, we would prosecute,” he said.