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Jewish Couple Attacked at Brooklyn Elementary School Graduation

A Jewish couple, Lana and Johan, were subjected to a violent assault during a Brooklyn elementary school graduation ceremony at PS 682 in Gravesend. The incident occurred just after the school’s fifth-grade graduation, which had the theme “All you need is love.” The couple was attacked by members of an Arabic-speaking family who taunted them with anti-Israel slogans, including “Free Palestine!” and “Death to Israel!”

The assault, witnessed by Lana and Johan’s 10-year-old twins, escalated quickly as the couple was targeted due to their Jewish identity. Johan was thrown to the ground, put in a chokehold, and kicked and punched by multiple assailants. Lana’s husband was also repeatedly struck with the sharp heel of a stiletto by a woman from the other family.

Tova Plaut, a city educator and advocate for Jewish peers, highlighted that this incident represents one of the most severe cases of antisemitism in NYC public schools since the recent Hamas terror attack in Israel and the conflict in Gaza. Plaut had previously warned about the dangers of tolerating overtly antisemitic views, which she believed would eventually lead to physical violence.

Initially, the NYPD did not classify the incident as a hate crime. However, following the couple’s request for reconsideration, the Hate Crime Task Force is now investigating the case. The couple’s last names have been withheld to protect their children’s privacy and safety.

The graduation ceremony itself proceeded without any issues, but tensions arose when one student wore a cap marked “Free Palestine” and waved a small Palestinian flag. Lana’s mother, upset by this display, left the event. School administrators justified the student’s actions as an expression of free speech, approved by the city Department of Education’s legal staff.

After the ceremony, as Lana and Johan were taking pictures with their children, relatives of the student with the flag attempted to push them aside. A verbal altercation ensued, with an older man shouting anti-Israel slogans in Arabic. Johan engaged in an argument with the man, but suddenly, another individual attacked him, leading to a chaotic scuffle. Lana, attempting to intervene, was assaulted by a woman who pulled her hair and knocked her to the ground, threatening her life.

The incident unfolded without any on-site security, but two male teachers eventually intervened to break up the attack. Johan was taken to Maimonides Medical Center with visible injuries, including scrapes, bruises, and swelling. Lana also sustained a leg injury, while their teenage son suffered a bloody nose.

The NYPD made one arrest in connection with the assault: Ez-Al Dean Bazar, 26, who allegedly punched and dragged Johan. The motive behind the attack was not mentioned in the criminal complaint filed by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. Bazar was released on his own recognizance, and attempts to reach him or his lawyer for comment have been unsuccessful.

Lana expressed frustration with the NYPD’s initial response, as they did not consider the assault a hate crime, despite her family’s well-known Jewish identity within the school community. The couple’s children proudly displayed their Jewish and Dominican roots in self-portraits exhibited at a recent art show.

The Department of Education spokesman, Nathaniel Styer, condemned any violent or aggressive behavior during graduation ceremonies. However, he also suggested that both families engaged in aggressive behavior, without providing further details. Lana disputed this statement, asserting that her family did not provoke the attack and that school staff informed the arresting officer that the other family members were the aggressors.

Author: CrimeDoor

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