Residents of a Cooper City neighborhood said they were disturbed to find messages of hate in their community, and now they want to know who’s behind them.
The antisemitic messages were initially discovered in the gated community Monterra on Saturday morning.
“Two writings on the cement walkway, as well as one on a bench,” said Avi Fishman, president of the neighborhood’s homeowners association. “We’re not used to this. This is a beautiful community, great neighbors, good people and this was truly a shock to all of us.”
Fishman shared several pictures of the disturbing graffiti with 7News on Sunday.
“Homeowners are very concerned about this. Not only Jewish homeowners, but all homeowners,” he said. “People are truly outraged that this happened.”
One of the messages reads, “I am Muslim, and say: kill all Jews.” Another reads, “By Allah, free Gaza, kill all Jews.”
The three messages were written at a time when tensions are high, as war rages on in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas.
“We immediately notified the authorities,” said Fishman. “As a community, we’ve also hired additional resources to reassure our homeowners that they will be safe.”
At this point, it’s unclear who wrote the graffiti, and the hateful words have been removed.
“It’s very unfortunate that our kids do have to walk around with more safety, you know it’s 2023. Kids have to come to our Hebrew schools or synagogues and see an armed guard and it’s really sad,” said Rabbi Adi Goodman, who also had a message for whoever did this heinous act.
“I would be more than glad to come and sit and have a talk with you,” he said. “[To] show you and ask you, what is it that’s really bothering you, that you feel the need to write such hatred in such a beautiful community.”
“Jews around the world are being attacked,” said Maor Elbaz Starinsky, consul general of Israel to Miami. “We have to go through this as a community, not only as Jewish community, not only as Jewish people, as a community to fight, to fight Hamas, to fight the terrorists, to fight the antisemites.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis condemned the hateful act.
“What’s frustrating for me as a mayor is that a lot of the events that are occurring in my community are a result of things that have happening somewhere else in the world,” he said. “I cannot control what’s happening in the Middle East, yet the impact is being felt her locally.”
To combat the hate, the City of Fort Lauderdale will host a mayor’s summit against antisemitism.
“It’s about conversation, it’s about trying to appreciate one another and listen and see how we can move this community forward,” Trantalis said.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating this incident.