(NationalUSNews.com) — On Saturday, December 9th, an elderly Jewish couple was walking to a Beverly Hills synagogue when they were attacked by 44-year-old Jarris Jay Silagi. Seventy-five-year-old Raphal “Raphy” Nissel was struck with Silagi’s belt buckle, and his wife Rebecca Nissel says she heard Silagi say, “Give me your earrings, Jew,” during the altercation.
Raphal recalls being enraged at the idea that he and his wife may have been targeted for being Jewish. As they were on their way to their synagogue, Raphal was wearing a yarmulke. Emergency personnel treated Raphal Nissel at the scene and stapled his forehead wound shut. He said he was still determined to go to the synagogue even after the attack, stating that he didn’t wish to give his assailant that victory.
The couple alerted the police, and Silagi was quickly apprehended and taken into custody after a BHPD senior forensic specialist recognized him based on a description that had been circulated. He is being charged with attempted second-degree robbery, elder abuse, and assault with a deadly weapon. He will also be charged with two felony counts of assault utilizing “force likely to produce great bodily injury.” The incident is being considered a hate crime, which may carry extra charges. If convicted of all charges, Silagi may receive a life sentence.
Head Deputy Public Defender Greg McCambridge, who is representing Silagi, has entered a plea of not guilty due to doubts as to his competency to stand trial. There will be a competency hearing to determine if they can push forward with the charges as they stand. McCambridge commented that he understands the public interest in this case but cautions against rushing to judgment.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón called this incident part of a disturbing spike in antisemitic hate crimes and said that there should be “severe consequences.” FBI Director Christopher Wray says that his office has noted an increase in hate crimes, particularly against the Jewish community. He says that while this was already a rising trend before, it has only gotten worse since the attack on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas on October 7th.
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