(JTA) — A public sukkah erected in a Manhattan park was vandalized with anti-Israel messages.
“Free Gaza” was spray painted in large letters three times on the sukkah erected by Chabad in Carl Schurz Park on New York’s Upper East Side.
The vandalism was discovered on Sunday morning.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the vandalism as a possible bias incident, the New York Post reported.
By Sunday afternoon, new messages were painted on the sukkah, including “Shalom” and “Sukkah of Unity.”
“Targeting a premises used for religious purposes during the #Jewish holiday of Sukkot is simply beyond the pale,” the Anti-Defamation League of New York/New Jersey said in a tweet.
“It’s a slap in the face,” Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski, director of Chabad of the Upper East Side, told local media. “It’s really very vicious. There is no room for this hatred in New York City.”
“The only response we know, and the way we’ve responded for the last 3,800 years, is to respond to darkness with light, to hate with love and to negativity with positivity,” Krasnianski also said.