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14-year-old arrested after rabbi was punched outside University City synagogue, police say

By Teri Figueroa, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

UNIVERSITY CITY, Calif. - A 14-year-old boy was arrested Friday on suspicion of a hate crime, a week after a rabbi was punched near his University City synagogue.

The boy was booked into Juvenile Hall on battery and hate crime charges, San Diego police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said.

Hours before the arrest was announced, Rabbi Yonatan Halevy spoke with The San Diego Union-Tribune about the Oct. 10 encounter on Governor Drive.

Last weekend, he and his father were walking toward the synagogue when a teen rode past on his bike, then abruptly turned around - and brought a clenched fist down on top of the rabbi's head.

The force knocked the 31-year-old off his feet.

The young assailant spewed slurs, said something about White power, then rode off laughing, Halevy said told the Union-Tribune.

 

"I was shocked, stunned, and hurt, but was grateful that my father was unharmed," he wrote on his synagogue website.

He said he and his Shiviti congregation had been targeted by a group of teens, including the alleged assailant, for a few weeks before the attack. They had been heckled and a car window was broken.

Because the teen accused in the assault is a minor, police did not release his name.

Earlier this week, before the arrest, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego said people should not shrug off the encounter as youth behaving badly.

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