Police investigating vandalism at Chicago-area synagogue as hate crime

Police in Skokie, Ill., say they are investigating an incident of vandalism at a synagogue over the weekend as a hate crime. 

Authorities said video surveillance at the Persian Hebrew Congregation shows someone smashing a window there Sunday, according to ABC7 Chicago. The person left a flag and a pro-Palestine sign outside the building, police said. 

"I hope that people who want to protest have peaceful protests and that it won't devolve into vandalism," Steve Hoffman, a former president of the synagogue, told the station.

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No one was at the synagogue and nobody was injured during the incident, police said, and an investigation into the incident is ongoing. 

Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen told ABC News in 2018 the town had "the largest number of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel." Skokie was the site of a massive Neo-Nazi march in the 1970s that eventually led to a Supreme Court case regarding religious liberty and the First Amendment. 

Violence between Israel and the Palestinians has ramped up dramatically in recent weeks, including a series of airstrikes and rocket attacks in the Gaza Strip.

Amid the violence overseas, acts of vandalism at synagogues have been reported in recent days in states like New York and Utah.