(JTA) – An Israeli flag flying in downtown Philadelphia at the spot where a Holocaust memorial is under construction was sprayed with red paint. The vandalism, made by a paintball gun with red paint that was found in a nearby trashcan, occurred on Tuesday, May 15. Staff members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia were notified that a man was shooting paint at the flag rushed to the corner of 16th Street and Ben Franklin Parkway and were able to identify the man for police, according to the local ABC affiliate. The man acknowledged his guilt and was taken into police custody. Police told local media that they do not know why the man attacked the Israeli flag and are not calling it a hate crime. He faces charges of institutional vandalism, according to ABC6.
The flags of hundreds of countries fly along Ben Franklin Parkland. The area next to the Israeli flag is fenced off for the construction of the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza and already is the site of the Monument to the Six Million Martyrs, erected in 1964, and the first Holocaust statue established in a United States city, according to the local Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.