Anti-Semitism in our own backyard
Thursday, Oct. 22, was for many Facebook enthusiasts a day to show support for Israel by displaying an Israeli flag somewhere-in their yard, on their house, in their business, even on their clothing-then take a photo of it and post it on Facebook, stating "Wherever I Stand, I Stand with Israel."
One Oviedo resident was excited to show her support for Israel and hung an Israeli flag in her front yard on Wednesday, Oct. 21. However, on Thursday morning, she discovered the flag had been desecrated-sprayed with red paint.
A friend, Dana Kaplan of Longwood, posted the photo on her Facebook page stating, "This is my friend's home in Oviedo this morning. Hatred against Jews is not just something we hear about in the Middle East. It is alive and kicking in our own backyard. Please repost this to bring awareness to the intolerance and hatred that exist right here at home. Doing nothing allows this hatred to fester and grow. We must stand together, voices loud, in love and peace and understanding to combat intolerance, ignorance and hatred."
The flag owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, had heard of the Facebook group Flags 4 Israel that, under the leadership of Rabbi Joseph Waks of Miami, started the movement encouraging people to show their support for Israel. The group distributed 10,000 flags in five designated locations across the United States and Canada to be displayed in unison.
"We strongly condemn the act of anti-Semitism in any shape or form. This is not just an anti-Israel attack, we are well aware of the front that is used in 2015 for bigotry and hate. Whilst we are here working on building love and tolerance, this just happened to our friend's Israeli flag that she put up just yesterday. This is completely unacceptable and makes me sick. Love and tolerance will prevail," stated Waks after learning of the desegration.
The Oviedo resident reported the hate-act to the Orange County police and also called Fox 35 News, which covered the incident on the 10 o'clock broadcast Friday night. A Miami news broadcast also aired the incident.
The resident, who is a member of Temple Shir Shalom in Oviedo, planned to continue to display her flag. Oviedo police have stepped up surveillance of the area.