An Israeli flag was reportedly stolen from a Dallas rabbi’s home on Tuesday night, prompting police to consider whether the incident was a hate crime.
Rabbi Jak Rubin was at his home preparing to host a gathering of young Jewish professionals when he heard yelling. Rubin received a notification from his security system that someone was in his front yard.
“I hear yelling outside. I had no idea what it was. I didn’t think anything of it. But I had my phone out, and I see a notification pop up on the top,” said Rubin, per NBC 5 DFW.
“It shows a person just jumping up like this, and he’s covered in a keffiyeh,” he added.
The security video shows a man wearing a Middle Eastern headdress pulling down the flag from Rubin’s home and shouting in Arabic as he runs away.
Although Rubin did not understand what the man said, he has since been told that “it translates to ‘long live free Palestine,’” he told NBC 5.
Rubin said the flag was meaningful to him, especially in light of Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel last month.
“As soon as the attack happened a month ago, that’s when I said I’m putting it out and making sure that we’re telling all Jews and Israelis come together, stand together, be proud of it,” Rubin said to NBC 5.
“It’s not because we’re trying to say that the people who are dying in Gaza don’t matter. It’s us saying very strongly that Hamas needs to be eradicated if we have any hope for peace,” he said.
Rubin told NBC 5 that he is the “director of OLAMI Dallas, which is under the nonprofit Dallas Area Torah Association.”
OLAMI is a group of young Jewish professionals representing 28 countries whose goal is to “bring the wisdom and traditions that our families shared for generations into the present in a way that makes sense.”
“We have, every Tuesday night, students that come together. Sometimes they’ll be here for classes, social events,” explained Rubin, per NBC 5.
Rubin hung another flag outside his house after the incident, this time higher to keep it out of reach of those attempting to take it down.
“There’s a lot of fear going on in many in the Jewish community. But then there’s the second feeling of resilience,” he told NBC 5.
“And the recognition that we can stand up for ourselves, which from much of human history has not been the case for the Jewish nation,” he said.
The Dallas Police Department is currently investigating this incident as a theft, but a hate crime detective is also assessing the situation.
Reports of theft in Dallas have remained high thus far in 2023, with 24,141 incidents reported by the DPD as of November 9, according to the Dallas crime analytics dashboard.
DPD has been struggling with a staffing shortage, fielding fewer than 3,200 sworn officers despite a City report indicating that 4,000 officers are necessary to properly maintain public safety.