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Synagogue Vandalized In NE Miami-Dade

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - For the second time in just a few days messages of hate targeted members of South Florida's Jewish community.

Early Monday morning, spray painted swastikas and the word "Hamas" were discovered on the pillars of the Congregation Torah Ve'emunah, at 1000 NE 175th Street, in northeast Miami-Dade.

"This is absolutely a desecration of something holy. It's a disgusting thing to see," said Michael Katz who worships at the synagogue.

A member of the community watch discovered the vandalism around 1 a.m.

"As I was rolling by I noticed some coloring on the wall," said Yona Lunger. "I back up again, looked again and I said 'Wow, it's a swastika'...It's very disturbing, very disturbing."

On Saturday, a family who lives along Meridian Avenue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Miami Beach found their cars had been vandalized as they left to attend a service at their synagogue.

"They wrote "Hamas" on the back of the car window and they wrote "Jew,'" said Joshua, who didn't want us to publish his last name.

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The two vehicles were covered with eggs and smeared with cream cheese, but it's the meaning behind the words that left many in the predominantly Jewish community concerned.

"Since it was a Jewish holiday people were going back and forth and it was the talk of the neighborhood and they were all scared," added Joshua. "That we have a hate crime in our own Jewish neighborhood."

"Everyone was shocked," said Rachel, whose parents' car was targeted. "No one knew what was going on, we're like this is America, this is Miami. Why would we be targeted here? We're supposed to be safe, free from anti-semitism.

With the escalating aggression between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East, some are wondering if the right abroad has now made it to their own home turf.

"I think what has happened here is terrible and it should never happen," said Pauletta Hayle. "if it happened over there it should stay over there. They shouldn't bring it here."

Hava Holzhauer with the Anti-Defamation League told CBS4's Maggie Newland, "People have a right to express their political views to share what's on their mind, but when it turns into anti-semitism, when it turns into directed hate speech against a particular group of people, there's no place for that."

"We're always concerned that idea will take the next step and result in violence," she added.

Miami-Dade Police are investigating the vandalism at the synagogue. Miami Beach Police are investigating the vandalism to the cars. It's unclear whether the two incidents are related.

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