OVIEDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A Central Florida woman and her daughter were shocked to find that a flag hung outside her Oviedo home had been defaced.
"This was brazen. It was right out there in the open," said Randy. She and her 15-year-old daughter, Madison, hung the flag together on Wednesday from a large tree in their front yard after learning about “Flags 4 Israel,” which encourages people to display the Israeli flag and then post an image of it on social media, using the hashtag #Flags4Israel.
"There's a Facebook group that was started by a rabbi down in the Miami area called 'Flags 4 Israel.' He was encouraging everyone to fly Israel flags for October 22, to show our solidarity for our Israeli brothers and sisters. All the attacks they've been undergoing in the last few week, they've just exponentially escalated," said Randy.
Ten Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, according to the Associated Press, which also reports that 48 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 27 said by Israel to be attackers and the rest in clashes. Click here to read more: Israel lifts Muslim age limit at Jerusalem shrine.
"I felt like we were taking part in world issues. We weren't just being that family that sits idle and does nothing," Randy explained. "This is our heritage, our religion," added Madison.
The family has never been shy about their Jewish heritage. During Hanukkah they always put a menorah in the front window to be festive. Randy never thought twice about flying the Israeli flag. The sun was coming up Friday morning as Randy pulled into the driveway after taking Madison to school, and that's when she first saw the big red "X" spray-painted across their Israeli flag.
"I wanted to cry. I felt violated. I felt that I was being attacked for my beliefs, and I didn't think that really went on here," said Randy. Neither did her daughter. "I was really angry, angry to the point I could almost scream, because I couldn't believe someone could do something like this. And then after being angry, I felt scared. I still kind of am," said Madison.
Both mom and daughter view this as a hate crime. "This is anti-Semitic behavior," said Randy. "To me it says 'We don't like the Jews,' and they're saying 'We don't like anything that has to do with these people,''" Madison added. Regardless, they're not taking their flag down right now. "Tomorrow (Saturday), there's actually a community garage sale, and, I'm leaving it up, because I want people to know, that are in this neighborhood, that this happened here," said Randy. And Madison has a message for whoever vandalized their flag, "Get your morals checked."
Randy tells us she called the Seminole County Sheriff's Office and filed a report. She tells us deputies assured her they would increase patrols in her neighborhood.
Some information taken from the Associated Press.