Jewish leaders are blasting Brooklyn prosecutors who areworking with Israeli officials to extradite a Crown Heights Hasid charged with a hate crime back to New York.
Top rabbis, community heads, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park), posted letters on freeyitzi.org supporting Yitzhak Shuchat, 28, – wanted in the April 2008 assault of Andrew Charles the son of a black NYPD cop.
“Yitzhak Shuchat is being targeted by the D.A. because he is a Jew. He is set to become a scapegoat for the entire Jewish community,” read a blurb written in bright red letters on the site.
Earlier this month, the Israeli court ordered Shuchat to return to Brooklyn after he fled to a suburb outside Tel Aviv where he was leaving freely for three years.
In November 2011, the Daily News reported that Shuchat had moved to Israel with his wife and children despite a warrant out for his arrest. Israel then announced plans to ship Shuchat back to the States.
Prosecutors said Shuchat, who was a member of the Shmira Jewish safety patrol at the time, jumped out of a van beating Charles with a club.
The assault was deemed a hate crime. A spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said the indictment is sealed and couldn’t explain why Shuchat was slapped with that charge.
“He’s got until Dec. 16 to appeal,” said DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer.
Mose Charles, the victim’s father, criticized Shucat’s supporters: “Those who think the extradition shoudl be stopped should think if this was their child that someone attacked…how would they feel?
“I am a father before anything and this is about my child.”
Hikind said Shuchat was responding to the call of a Jewish woman being attacked, spotted Charles, prompting the fight.
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“I don’t know why this case is being looked at as a hate crime,” Hikind said.
Hikind said he is working with state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Crown Heights) to make sure that tensions between blacks and Jews in Crown Heights, home to the 1991 race riots, don’t flare up if Shuchat stands trial in Brooklyn.
Adams said he is also questioning why the fight is being called a hate crime, a decision that could fuel another battle between blacks and Hasidic Jews.
“I didn’t see it as a bias crime,” Adams said. “The DA’s office may have additional information. But a bias crime is a serious charge. It should be used. Not abused.”
With Oren Yaniv