A man is in custody after he allegedly vandalized an Israeli flag in Center City to protest recent violence in Gaza.
Members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia say they responded to a report Tuesday that the Israeli flag, which hangs on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, was being defaced. When they arrived they spotted a man spraying red paint on the flag.
“I’m very upset to hear that a symbolism of Israel, symbolism of the Jewish community had been vandalized in such a horrific and horrid way,” Laura Frank, of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, said. "So it was quite a shock to see that actually happening, to see an active anti-Semitism actually happen in front of you.”
Philadelphia police later arrested the man though they have not yet revealed his identity. Officials say he will likely be charged overnight or Wednesday morning with institutional vandalism.
“Hate and anti-Semitism have no place in the City of Philadelphia,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wrote in a released statement. “While I understand that emotions are running high and there are many viewpoints stemming from recent violence against Palestinians and other protestors in the Gaza Strip, it doesn’t warrant hateful acts of vandalism.”
A city spokesperson told NBC10 the vandalized Israeli flag was later replaced Tuesday.
The vandalism comes after the deadliest day the Gaza strip has seen in years. On Monday, 59 Palestinians were killed and more than 2700 were injured by Israeli gunfire during mass protests. Israeli officials said its troopers were defending its border.