Hate crimes reported across Arizona during Hanukkah season

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The Jewish community celebrated the last day of Hanukkah on Monday, but during the eight-day holiday, some were extremely upset after experiencing acts of hate.

According to the Arizona Anti-Defamation League, there have been several reports of swastikas found at public places and homes. Over the last 10 days, they've received six reports of Jewish people discovering swastikas, and these reports are coming out of cities across the state. The latest report came from an elderly woman in Scottsdale, but people in Phoenix, Chandler, Surprise, and Yuma have reported being victimized by someone using the symbol.

According to the ADL, the Swastika, which is an ancient symbol found in many cultures, had a benign meaning until the 20th Century, when its use became associated with Nazism.

"It's so offensive not only to Holocaust survivors, but their family members," said Carlos Galindo-Elvira, Regional Director of the Arizona Anti-Defamation League "It invokes terrible memories during a horrific period of our world history where Nazis murdered Jews and others, so we never want to normalize the use of a swastika."

In Yuma, someone vandalized a mural, using a combination of hate symbols. ADL officials said the community came together to clean up and erase the graffiti. The Yuma Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Closer to the Valley, a moviegoer at a popular theater in Surprise came across a swastika etched into the wall of a bathroom stall. Swastikas were also reported to be found on two high school campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Also in Scottsdale, an elderly woman found a piece of paper with a swastika drawn on it on her doorstep, on the last day of Hanukkah. That was the second time she was targeted in the last few years. In Chandler, someone took the time to create an origami-like swastika, leaving it on a shelf right next to a menorah.

"There was some time and forethought put into the precise folding of a swastika, so that was meant to inflict hurt not only to potential Jewish customer that would shopping, but to the whole community because it happened on the eve of Hanukkuah." said Galindo-Elvira.