California synagogue targeted with anti-Semitic graffiti
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A synagogue in Irvine, Calif., was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti overnight on Tuesday.

In a message shared on Facebook by Orange County Jewish Life Magazine, Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine synagogue leaders said the “hateful” graffiti, which reads “F—- Jews,” was found Wednesday. 

“I’m very sorry to report that last night Beth Jacob was a target of a cowardly act by an individual who spray-painted an anti-Semitic message on the front wall of our synagogue facing Michelson Drive,” the message reads.

The Irvine Police Department is investigating the incident, the congregation’s leaders wrote.

Security footage shows an individual “wearing a hoodie, sunglasses and a surgical facemask” jumping the fence to enter the premises, and spray-painting the message on the synagogue’s outer wall, according to the message.

The suspect also reportedly stole a bicycle from the synagogue’s grounds.

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“We are continuing to do everything we can to make our campus more secure, and we will continue to promote the message that we are stronger than hate,” the message reads.

White paint has since been used to cover up the graffiti.

The incident comes less than a week after 11 worshippers were killed in a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. The attack, which political and Jewish leaders have condemned, has prompted renewed concern about anti-Semitism in the U.S.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recorded a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism and violence in 2017.

ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt in a recent interview warned that the political environment and social media are “amplifying” anti-Semitism.

“We are seeing an environment in which anti-Semitism has moved from the margins to the mainstream as political candidates and people in public life literally repeat the rhetoric of white supremacists," Greenblatt said. "Not only is the political environment contributing to this, social media is amplifying and accelerating it in shocking ways.”