NEW YORK (Oct. 10)
Two Jewish students were severely injured in an apparently anti-Semitic attack just outside Brooklyn College, after attending a fraternity party at the college’s Hillel House last weekend.
The students, Steven Weisburg and Joshua Fogel, both age 19, were leaving a fraternity party when they were set on by an estimated 10 to 20 white males. The assailants reportedly taunted them with ethnic slurs and then attacked without provocation.
A third student, Steven Eilat, 18, who left the party shortly after Weisburg and Fogel, was slightly injured when he attempted to intervene.
Weisburg was hospitalized with a lacerated spleen, which was removed, as well as skull fractures and leg injuries. Fogel had a fractured skull, a broken nose and bruises all over his body. Both were listed in satisfactory condition.
Police were said to be focusing their investigation on a street gang based nearby, known as the Kings Highway Boys, named after the street that runs nearby.
The gang is predominantly Italian-American, according to various community sources, but also includes some Irish-American and Hispanic members. Sources say it has engaged in a series of assaults on blacks and others over the last few years.
All three Jewish students are graduates of local yeshiva high schools. Both Weisburg and Fogel spent last year studying in Israel, Weisburg at Bar-Ilan University and Fogel at the Neveh Zion yeshiva, according to New York City Councilman Noach Dear, who represents a nearby section of Flatbush.
Weisburg had been planning to return to Israel after Sukkot to continue his studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said Sarah Bulka, assistant principal at the Yeshivah of Flatbush.
MAY HELP HATE-CRIMES BILL
The attack touched off a flood of public statements from politicians and Jewish organizational figures, from mayoral candidates David Dinkins and Rudolph Giuliani to the American Jewish Congress, American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation league of B’nai B’rith.
Giuliani visited the youths in the hospital, as did Israeli Consul General Uriel Savir and Dinkins’ wife, Joyce. Dinkins telephoned the youths in the hospital from California.
The Bias Crimes Unit of the New York City Police Department assigned at least five officers to assist in the local precinct’s investigation.
Investigators were said to be gathering information from eyewitnesses and were reportedly close to issuing arrest warrants for four youths in their late teens and early 20s.
The incident appears to have strengthened demands for the New York State Legislature to pass a stalled hate-crimes bill, which would add special penalties for violent crimes motivated by racial, ethnic, religious or sexual prejudice.
The bill has been held up in the state Senate by the Republican majority, which objects to the sections designating anti-homosexual violence as a bias crime.
Brooklyn College students planned to hold a rally Wednesday outside Hillel House.