An incident in which a synagogue in north suburban Skokie was vandalized Sunday was being investigated as a hate crime, authorities said.
At approximately 3:03 p.m., officers with the Skokie Police Department responded to Persian Hebrew Congregation, 3820 Main St., in regard to a report of criminal damage.
Officers observed a shattered window and discovered both a broken stick and a "Freedom for Palestine" sign beneath the window, police said.
Lonnie Nasatir, head of the Jewish United Fund Chicago, acknowledged tensions are high in the Middle East, which has led to local protests. However, he says the hate crime was an act of intimidation.
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"This was clearly not freedom of speech, this went right into actually a real assault, and quite frankly, a terrorist act on a religious place of worship," he said.
At a recent protest in Skokie, approximately 20 pro-Palestinian protesters hurled anti-Israel remarks, according to the Anti-Defamation League of the Midwest.
As the Israeli–Palestinian conflict continues in the Middle East, Nasatir says now should be a time for healing.
"We should be thinking of ways that we have our communities together," he said. "Acts like this, and statements like that, all the rest kind of bring us further apart, and that's a shame."
Detectives were "diligently working on all leads" as the investigation continued, police said.
Anyone with information on the vandalism was asked to contact the Skokie Police Department at 847-982-5900 or the village's 24-hour crime tip hotline at 847-933-8477.