Two brothers, aged 19 and 23, wearing prayer shawls and kipot were walking home on Yom Kippur afternoon from the Flatbush Park Jewish Center in Brooklyn when there were attacked by three men yelling anti-Semitic slurs, it was reported by American media.
The brothers, Dani and Eli Zainback, were set upon by three men in their twenties who called the fasting siblings taking a break between Orthodox prayer services, “Fucking Jews.” The older of the brothers, Eli, replied, “It’s our holiday” and then touched one of the assailants, who punched him in the face. The scuffle ended when the trio of attackers fled the scene.
Eli ended with bruised ribs and laceration in his mouth, and Dani had a swollen eye and cut lip.
The brothers made their way back to the synagogue, where a Hatzolah ambulance took Eli to the hospital. Dani was treated by paramedics at the house of prayer.
The 23 year old told New York’s NBC 4 that, having been fasting for 22 hours at that point, he was “woozy,” but he elected to refuse blood draws and antibiotics to avoid breaking his fast.
Dani told NBC 4 that he believed that the attack was a hate crime and that Jews were specifically targeted on the holiest day of their religious year. He added, “For it to escalate where I got assaulted in my neighborhood, by somebody I’ve never seen, to come and feel assaulted, I feel ashamed.”
An NYPD spokesman, Sgt. Lee Jones, told JP News on Thursday that the department’s Hate Crime Task Force are leading the investigation.