A Jewish couple returned home to Phoenix, Arizona, from their holiday break to find a swastika drawn on their property.
According to 12 News, Ari and Shoshana Simones had just come back from an Independence Day vacation when they found a swastika and the word “Jews” scrawled over their brick mailbox.
So far, there haven't been any clues as to when this act was committed, but authorities are investigating this incident as a hate crime.
While the couple feel “an overwhelming feeling of sadness that people could still be this ignorant and hateful,” Shoshana said, they also claim that the neighborhood has always been welcoming to its Jewish residents.
In a note left for the couple after the incident, an unknown neighbor confirmed this fact with the following words: “This morning around 10, I noticed graffiti on you mailbox... I am so sorry and disgusted by this.”
Living near 22nd Street and Glendale Avenue, the Simones are also close to the Chabad Lubavitch Center, a Jewish synagogue located just around the corner from their house. Every Saturday, the couple walks there along with others of the Jewish faith.
"Whoever did this, they don't know who we are and that we're good people," Shoshana said. "That they would try to hurt us or slur us is just ridiculous."
Unfortunately for folks like the Simones, Arizona's Anti-Defamation League chapter has reported that there has been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the state since the beginning of the year. These incidents often involve harassment, vandalism, and in some occasions, even assault.
In 2015, only four of these incidents were registered, but in 2016, ADL registered 10. So far in 2017, at least 14 occurrences have been reported.
Perhaps, one of the most well-known anti-Semitic incidents to have taken place in Arizona happened last year, when four people turned a family's menorah into a swastika. The vandals were arrested in March, but unfortunately not all perpetrators of similar crimes are caught.
Hopefully, the person or people responsible for the vandalism against the Simones' property are discovered, as we must make it clear to people who take part in this type of sick action that similar incidents won't be met with impunity.