Two signs in Jacksonville were defaced after someone spray-painted curse words about Israel. The hateful messages were found in very visible spots.
On the first day of Hanukkah, two visible messages of hate were seen in the Jacksonville area.
One was on Beach Boulevard and the other on Atlantic Boulevard.
“One thing that gives us a lot of hope is instead of becoming depressed in this ignorant and foul hate, the Jewish community is galvanized together and coming out in greater numbers than ever,” Rabbi Schmuli Novack.
Curse words that were at the Beach Boulevard location appeared to be spray painted on a plaza sign.
Over on Atlantic near the Intracoastal, an Israel billboard was defaced with graffiti. It said Zionists are terrorists along with the Palestinian flag.
The two messages have since been covered up.
This comes on the first day of Hanukkah and the Chabad of UNF and Town Center held their annual menorah lighting.
Rabbi Schmuli Novack said the hateful messages are a reflection of the strength of the Jewish faith.
“Tonight, you’re going to see more Jewish people light Hanukkah candles than ever before because these attacks and messages of hate only remind us of our essence of who we are, our true identity and it brings it out in a beautiful and powerful way,” Rabbi Novack said.
A new state law prohibits unauthorized displays on public and private buildings and includes enhanced penalties when the offense meets the elements of a hate crime.
It could go from a first-degree misdemeanor up to a third-degree felony if it’s deemed to be a credible threat.