A Palestinian woman, Ruba Awni Almaghtheh, aged 34, intentionally drove her car into a building. She believed that the building belonged to a Jewish congregation due to her exposure to news coverage of the Israel-Hamas War, which began on October 7 following the Palestinian militant group’s invasion in southern Israel. However, the building was actually owned by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, a group whose doctrine is allegedly antisemitic. The incident took place in Indianapolis, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Indianapolis (JCRCI) stated that Almaghtheh’s error may have been influenced by the presence of words like “Hebrew Israelites” on the building’s facade. The presence of the Star of David on the building may have further contributed to her mistaken belief. Fortunately, no one was inside the building when the incident occurred, although it is regularly used by the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge, a group characterized as “extreme and antisemitic” by the Anti-Defamation League.
Following her actions, Almaghtheh admitted to an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer that she believed the building was an “Israel school” and stated that she intentionally drove into it. She was promptly arrested and charged with criminal recklessness. It’s worth noting that hate crimes against Jewish individuals or organizations are a significant concern in the U.S., with 1,124 incidents documented in 2022, the highest since 1993. FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged the “historic levels” of antisemitism and stated that “terrorists across the spectrum target the Jewish community.”