Police officers patrol in their car in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Nov. 1, 2020. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)
Beverly Hills police arrested a Los Angeles resident Dec. 9 after a man was attacked while walking with his wife to their Beverly Hills synagogue.
Officers arrested Jarris Jay Silagi, 44, on suspicion of a hate crime and assault at about 9 a.m.
According to county inmate booking data, he was released with a citation the same day under the county’s “zero bail” policy.
According to reports, Raphael Nissel, 75, and his wife of nearly 50 years Rebecca Nissel, 70, were on their weekly walk to their synagogue Saturday morning when a man ran up behind him near the intersection of Rexford Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard.
As Orthodox Jews, they observe Shabbat, which prohibits them from driving on Saturdays, the couple told NBC News
Ms. Nissel told the news outlet she saw a man hitting her husband with a belt on the back of his head while screaming “Give me your earrings, Jew!”
He was then attacked from behind with a belt, leaving a knot on his forehead. The belt buckle also cut his face and bloodied his shirt, an image which was shared on social media.
“I decided I couldn’t just let it go,” Mr. Nissel told NBC News.
The couple chased after the attacker, which caused a Beverly Hills police officer to notice the commotion.
“And within a few seconds, there were police cars from all sides,” Ms. Nissel said.
He was treated by the Beverly Hills Fire Department at the scene and released, according to the police department.
The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived. However, after a search, a man matching his description was spotted by a police department forensic specialist, according to a police department press release.
“Our officers quickly apprehended the suspect and he is in custody,” said Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook in the press release. “This despicable act of hate against a member of our community will not be tolerated.”
Mr. Silagi was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery, a hate crime, and elder abuse.
According to Los Angeles County inmate information, he was cited and released Saturday on “no bail.” His next court date was set for Dec. 12 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The defendant was also arrested nearly a year ago on Dec. 15, 2022, by Los Angeles International Airport police. He was released in August.
He was also arrested in November 2022 and released on his own recognizance one day later.
It was unclear what Mr. Silagi was charged with during his prior arrests last year, or if he currently had an attorney.
Beverly Hills police and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office did not return requests for comment about Mr. Silagi’s release without bail Saturday.
For Mr. Nissel and his wife, the hate displayed during the incident was shocking.
“I was really enraged,” Mr. Nissel said. “Not because of the [cut] but because I was hit as a Jew.”
His wife was shocked when later, her grandson asked if he should take off his kippah, a traditional Jewish skullcap, she told NBC.
The couple returned to the synagogue in time to read the Torah where they were hailed as heroes.
Jews are celebrating Hanukkah this week, the eight-day “festival of lights.”
Ms. Nissel said she hoped this year’s celebration will help fight against the evil they experienced.
“I hope that with the help of God, it will bring down evil and the light will shine,” she said.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles called Saturday’s attack “despicable.”
“Violence toward our local Jewish community will not be tolerated,” the federation said in a social media statement posted
on social media platform X on Monday. “The despicable armed assault that took place Saturday in Beverly Hills is another example of the ongoing threat our community faces.”
The federation also thanked the Beverly Hills Police Department for making an arrest.
“We will continue to defend our Jewish community so we can live in peace and safety,” the group said in the posting.