Pastor John Hagee has voiced his support for Congregation Rodfei Sholom, an Orthodox synagogue in San Antonio, Texas, after it was was vandalized with anti-Semitic and racist graffiti, including images of the Nazi swastika symbol.
The Jewish Press reported that on Wednesday, the surrounding neighborhood, a community with a large Jewish population, was also vandalized, with at least 30 cars and buildings emblazoned with swastikas, hateful slurs and the Ku Klux Klan logo. Some of the graffiti was so shocking, it was too offensive to show online, according to KENS-5.
Pastor John Hagee, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio and longtime friend of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, the leader of the Rodfei Sholom congregation, immediately voiced his support for the congregation and condemned the shocking crime.
"We came immediately to express our solidarity with the rabbi, with his congregation, and with the Jewish community in the city of San Antonio," he said in a joint statement with Rabbi Scheinberg.
"I want to say to all of the Christians in America, we stand with the Jewish people. An attack against this synagogue is an attack against Christians everywhere," he continued. "If a line has to be drawn, drawn around both Christians and Jews, we are united."
According to Breaking Israel News, Hagee is known for his strong support of Israel, and his ministries donate millions of dollars in funding to dozens of Israeli charities yearly.
He later told Fox News contributor Todd Starnes that "an attack on the Jewish community should be considered an attack on the Christian community" and warned the anti-Semites to turn themselves in - "Because we are going to find you."
"Any time there is this kind of hateful act toward our citizens, Christians and Jews are going to unite and continue to press the issue until we have complete resolution," Hagee said. "We are going to stand very forcefully - right now. We want to send a message - this is not going to be tolerated - not paint, not bricks tomorrow, not blood later. It stops right here and it stops dead in its tracks."
In turn, Scheinberg expressed gratitude for Hagee's support, saying, "This incident that occurred today is of course disheartening. However, we are so proud to say that we have the love and support of our community and our Christian community, our neighborhood and the greater Christian community in our city and in our country."
The rabbi added that the support of Hagee and his followers "gives us tremendous strength, that good will overcome evil, and of course love will overpower hatred."
While no formal charges have been filed, Texas state Senator José Menéndez condemned the San Antonio hate crime. "This is not merely graffiti, this is an orchestrated effort to try to intimidate an entire community of people based on their religious beliefs and we cannot stand for it," he said in a statement, KSAT-12 reported.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said the attack was "racially targeted" and that the "anti-Semitic vandalism in a San Antonio Jewish community is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Texas."