17 March 2008

It can happen anywhere, anytime even in Rhode Island

Readers frequently comment on how dangerous it is to live in Israel. Apparently it's not much safer for Israeli's in Rhode Island.

From the NEWS Israeli’s home hit by Molotovs

01:00 AM EDT on Monday, March 17, 2008

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE, RI, USA — A Molotov cocktail was thrown into the apartment of a graduate student from Israel but did not explode and a second liquid-filled bottle landed in the yard outside the apartment building, exploded and burned itself out early Saturday, triggering an intensive investigation by several agencies including the FBI.

Targeted in the 1:15 a.m. episode was the second-floor apartment of Josef Knafo, 25, at 122 Camp St., a Brown University graduate fellow who also works at the the Brown University/Rhode Island School of Design Hillel House, on the city’s East Side. Knafo was home at the time, said Deputy Police Chief Paul J. Kennedy.

“At this point, we just don’t know whether to call this a hate crime because we don’t know the motivation,” Kennedy said yesterday.

Knafo, who is from Afula, Israel, has been in the United States as an emissary for the Jewish Agency for Israel, an organization that sends young people around the world to conduct educational, religious and cultural programs.

Kennedy said Knafo was in the kitchen of his apartment when he heard a bang. After looking out the window and seeing the fire on the ground, he came upon the unexploded bottle inside his bedroom, Kennedy said.

Whether the attack was directed at Knafo as a result of some personal grudge, or for some other “global reason, we just don’t know,” Kennedy said. “However, we are taking this very seriously.”

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force sent investigators to the scene.

Some members of the Jewish community did not learn about the attack until later Saturday, after reading about it on the Web sites of the Jerusalem Post and another Israeli newspaper.

Marty Cooper, the community relations director and security coordinator for the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, said local synagogues and other Jewish institutions were strongly advised yesterday to heighten their security.

“We are thankful nobody was hurt in this attack and we commend the Providence Police Department for the seriousness with which they are investigating,” said Stephen Silberfarb, executive vice president and CEO for the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island. “We have been in close contact with Mayor [David] Cicilline, the Providence police, the FBI and Homeland Security officials and are grateful they share our deep concern over this attack.”

Knafo was described by the police and other officials as deeply concerned but not frightened. However, as a precaution, the police said they felt it prudent to move him to another location while the investigation continues. He left word yesterday through the Jewish Federation that he did not want to be interviewed.

And according to the Jewish Agency for Israel (the official Israeli governmental agencey that supports Jewish Communities outside of Israel)

...Agency officials cite tensions that may have risen over the weekend due to a massive Jewish Agency campaign on dozens of university campuses and in hundreds of synagogues and schools in the US and worldwide to commemorate the March 6 terror attack on Jerusalem's Mercaz Harav Yeshiva which killed eight students...(from here)

So it's the fault of the worldwide Jewish Community for wanting to mourn our dead???

I'd love for someone to explain this one to me.

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