London detectives arrested a 55-year-old man on suspicion of arson and racially aggravated harassment on Thursday. The man is accused of setting fire to the car of a Jewish woman in her 30s on November 6, and harassing her on November 21. The victim was unharmed, but Detective Sergeant Chris Church described the incident as “a terrifying experience for the victim who was just going about her day.”
The suspected hate crime is part of a pattern of antisemitic incidents in the UK and around the world following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, and the subsequent war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Within two weeks of Hamas’s attack, there were 408 antisemitic incidents recorded in London, compared to only 28 in the same period last year. Anti-Muslim incidents also spiked, with 174 offenses recorded, compared to the previous year’s 65.
“We simply won’t tolerate hate crime,” the Sergeant said in a statement released by the Metropolitan Police. “Those who commit such abhorrent crimes will be prosecuted.”