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Two Vehicles Damaged In Apparent Miami Beach Hate Crime

MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) –  Miami Beach Police are investigating a potential hate crime. It happened along Meridian Avenue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood on the Beach.

A family heading to Synagogue Saturday was stunned to see what someone scrawled on their car.

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

Watch the 11 p.m. report, click here.

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.

"Before we even knew what happened, half the community was outside," said Shanie Weinstein, a friend of the family whose cars were vandalized.

"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 Shakibpanah.  "That it's we have a hate crime in our own Jewish neighborhood."

"Everyone was shocked," said Rachel, whose car was also vandalized.  "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.

Instead, the community is fearful.  Police are investigating the actions as a potential hate crime and many in the neighborhood are now planning to install surveillance cameras.

"I don't feel safe in America," said Joshua.

"With the rise that's going on in Israel, it's scary now," added Rachel.

As tensions rise in the Middle East and bitter fighting between Hamas and Israel continues to make headlines, Rachel worries political views are inspiring personal attacks like the vandalism to her parents' cars.

She hopes whoever is responsible will realize it is no way to express political opinions, regardless of what's happening in Gaza.

"Why are you attacking us here?" she said. "How is that going to help with anything?"

"No matter what political side you're taking, just respect for people and individuals and that's what's really important," said Weinstein.

Watch Maggie Newland's 6:30 p.m. report, click here.


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