Jewish Journal | By Aaron Bandler | July 28, 2020
Sarasota, FL (Photo by Ed Schipul)
The StandWithUs (SWU) Center for Combating Anti-Semitism (CCA) in partnership with the Mizel Family Foundation has offered an unspecified monetary reward to whomever provided the information that led to the arrest of the alleged perpetrator behind the recent vandalism of two Florida synagogues.
The two synagogues, Temple Emanu-El and Temple Sinai, were vandalized on July 15 with swastikas and other unspecified anti-Semitic graffiti. Both synagogues are located in Sarasota, Fla. On July 24, Victor Martinez, 21, was arrested in connection to the vandalisms.
“If this man is convicted of these anti-Semitic hate crimes, it will be SWU and the Mizel Family Foundation’s pleasure to offer a monetary reward to the person who exhibited the courage and determination to come forward with information that was instrumental in allowing justice to be served here,” CCA Director Carly Gammill said in a statement. “It is our hope that if and when other anti-Semitic hate crimes occur, those who have helpful information will demonstrate the same fortitude and join us as we combat this societal disease.”
Martinez was arrested after video footage showed him using an ATM near one of the synagogues on the night the vandalisms occurred. He faces a up to five years in jail and a fine of $5,000.
Temple Sinai President Ellen Bender told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that she was “shocked” at how young the alleged suspect is.
“I hope he has some sort of education about what it means to be Jewish,” Bender said. “What it means to be part of a community, an interfaith community. I have no understanding where this kind of hate comes from.”