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Jewish schools in London doused in red paint in 'shocking' acts of anti-Semitism amid Israel-Hamas conflict
16 October 2023, 17:42 | Updated: 16 October 2023, 18:56
Two Jewish schools in north London have been splattered with red paint in acts of apparent anti-Semitism, against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
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Vishnitz Girls School in Stamford Hill was targeted in the early hours of Thursday morning last week.
Then Beis Chinuch Lebonos Girls' School, about 15 minutes' walk to the south-west, was hit with paint early on Monday morning.
Stamford Hill is home to a very large Haredi Jewish community, who adhere to an orthodox variant of Judaism.
Police said they were treating both incidents as hate crimes, although they were not sure yet if they were linked. No one has been arrested yet.
The incidents were caught on CCTV, with masked offenders seen striding towards the schools and hitting them with the paint.
Sadiq Khan posted online: "From those vandalising Jewish schools in North London to those graffitiing Islamophobic hatred on bus stops in South London: We will not tolerate your hate, you will be found, and you will face the full force of the law."
HATE CRIME😡 Stamford Hill Jewish Primary School's Splattered in Red Paint pic.twitter.com/T9iWw8EUd7— In Stamford Hill (@instamfordhill) October 16, 2023
It comes after the BBC building in central London was also doused in red paint by pro-Palestine protesters on Saturday.
The Pinter Trust, which represents the local Haredi community, said that they were "shocked" by the incidents.
A spokesperson told Jewish News: "We’re worried about hate crimes against the Jewish community, especially after these two schools were vandalised, and we’re worried about what lies ahead.
"We are thankful to the police for increasing their presence and feel we need all the support we can get at the moment, because people are feeling very anxious.
"The Orthodox community in Stamford Hill is obviously very visibly Jewish, so there is a greater risk of course."
Caught on CCTV:— Shomrim (Stamford Hill) (@Shomrim) October 16, 2023
A suspect has been caught defacing Jewish schools in #StamfordHill@Shomrim @MPSHackney urge anyone with info to come forward. Your help is crucial❗@MPSHackney CAD 4143 16OCT23 - CAD 5621 15OCT23.#NoToHate pic.twitter.com/LysdcY392u
The spokesperson said that they were proud of their good relations with the local Muslim community.
"We hope and pray for peace," he added. "We don’t want anyone to get hurt, either here or abroad."
Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway, who leads policing in Hackney and Tower Hamlets said: "We have had extra police patrols in the area since the attacks in Israel to provide reassurance.
"We are working closely with our partners in the Community Security Trust, the Shomrim, Hackney Council and other key local partners.
"These incidents will be robustly investigated and we have been clear that we have a zero tolerance for hate crime."
If you have any information please call 101 stating CAD5621/15OCT23 (Lordship Road) or CAD 4143/16OCT23 (Woodbury Down).
Israel was attacked by Hamas on October 7, in a series of incursions that killed more than 1,400 people. Israel has responded with a bombardment of Gaza, killing over 2,450 in return. A ground invasion of Gaza by the Israeli army is expected soon.
The conflict has sparked a strong reaction in the UK both from Palestine supporters and people who sympathise with Israel's cause. Reports of anti-Semitic incidents have risen dramatically in the nine days since the attack.