Early on the morning of Wednesday, August 12, Congregation Rodfei Sholom, an Orthodox synagogue in San Antonio, Texas, was vandalized with anti-Semitic and racist graffiti. The graffiti included images of the Nazi swastika symbol.
The surrounding neighborhood, a community with a large Jewish population, was graffitied similarly, with at least 30 cars and buildings emblazoned with swastikas, hateful slurs and the Ku Klux Klan logo.
Pastor John Hagee, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio and longtime friend of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, the leader of the Rodfei Sholom congregation, immediately came out in support of the congregation, strongly condemning the hate crime.
“We came immediately to express our solidarity with the rabbi, with his congregation, and with the Jewish community in the city of San Antonio,” he said in a joint statement with Rabbi Scheinberg.
“I want to say to all of the Christians in America, we stand with the Jewish people. An attack against this synagogue is an attack against Christians everywhere,” he continued. “If a line has to be drawn, drawn around both Christians and Jews, we are united.”
Hagee is known for his strong support of Israel. His ministries donate millions of dollars in funding to dozens of Israeli charities yearly.
The pastor called for an investigation into the attack. “I am saying to the policing agencies of our city, and to the citizens of our city, join together in finding out who the hoodlums were that did this, so they can be brought to justice, and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Scheinberg expressed gratitude for Hagee’s support, saying, “This incident that occurred today is of course disheartening. However, we are so proud to say that we have the love and support of our community and our Christian community, our neighborhood and the greater Christian community in our city and in our country.”
The rabbi added that the support of Hagee and his followers “gives us tremendous strength, that good will overcome evil, and of course love will overpower hatred.”
Texas state Senator José Menéndez condemned the San Antonio hate crime. “This is not merely graffiti, this is an orchestrated effort to try to intimidate an entire community of people based on their religious beliefs and we cannot stand for it,” he said in a statement.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said the attack was “racially targeted” and that the “anti-Semitic vandalism in a San Antonio Jewish community is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Texas.”
Jonathan Feldstein, Director of Heart to Heart, an organization dedicated to saving lives in Israel which maintains a close relationship with John Hagee Ministries, expressed admiration for the solidarity displayed by the Jewish and Christian communities in San Antonio.
“Defacing the synagogue is deplorable, but on the encouraging side, Pastor Hagee and Rabbi Scheinberg are models of how a healthy Jewish-Christian relationship ought to be,” he told Breaking Israel News.
“All Christians of good conscience should decry these attacks and stand in solidarity with the Jewish community, and vice versa,” he continued, adding that people of faith should unite in the face of hatred. “Together, those who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are much stronger than those who hate us and do not know God.”
Heart to Heart saves lives in Israel by providing medical equipment, including state-of-the-art ambulances to Israel’s ambulance corps, and supporting the country’s national blood-banking services.
The organization has a long-standing relationship with John Hagee Ministries, which generously supports Heart to Heart, along with other Israeli charities. Recently, one of the Ministry’s ambulances in Israel experienced a similar anti-Semitic violation when it was attacked near Jerusalem by stone-throwing Palestinians.