CBS New York
December 15, 2020
GREAT NECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police on Long Island are investigating how a religious school’s website was infiltrated by hackers.
Disturbing images popped up on the website of the North Shore Hebrew Academy, a yeshiva in Great Neck.
Hackers posted swastikas, slurs and Nazi videos in a grotesque spoof of Holocaust hate. All of it replaced the yeshiva’s high school educational portal for several hours until it was taken down, but by then, it had been shared on social media.
Nina Gordon, of Great Neck, was among the first to see it.
“I literally was sick to my stomach. I had such a visceral reaction,” Gordon said. “This is our most pressing internal problem, is white supremacy, and here it is in our backyard.”
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder released the following statement:
“Last night the Nassau County Police Department commenced an investigation into disturbing and malicious communications that involve online attacks against our Jewish community. These attacks will never be tolerated and I have assigned extra resources due to these anti-Semitic remarks and threats. We continue the investigation collaboratively with the FBI at this time. If anyone has information with regard to this incident I urge them to call Crime Stoppers at 516-244-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.”
The cyberattack is under investigation by Nassau and Lake Success police.
Avi Posnick, of Stand With Us, an international group that fights antisemitism, says it’s not the first such incident.
“Especially during the pandemic, we have seen a number of organizations that have had their websites hacked. There have been Zoom bombing attempts, but we don’t know, at least at this point, who has been responsible,” Posnick told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
Long Island county executives both expressed outrage.
Nassau County executive Laura Curran said, “There is zero tolerance for antisemitism or any kind of bigotry.”
Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone said, “It’s unfathomable that in this day and age, children on Long Island have to endure these ugly attacks.”
Some of those children are the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.
“I wear my dad’s numbers every day,” said Andrea Bolender, chairperson for Nassau County’s Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center.
She says she feels for the students who discovered it.
“I’m sure it’s fear, confusion, a little bit more frightening, but for children of survivors and survivors, what we are feeling really is more like terror,” Bolender said.
She says the answer to such ignore is always education, but it’s not clear yet if the perpetrators are local. The FBI has joined the investigation.
According to the nonprofit StopAntisemitism.org, hackers also leaked students and teachers’ personal information.
No one from North Shore Hebrew Academy responded to CBS2’s requests for comment.
A GoFundMe has been set up in response to the incident in order to pay for a scholarship for a student who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to attend the school. To find out more, click here.
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