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WATCH: Brooklyn Rabbi’s Funeral Attended By Hundreds; De Blasio Drives Over To Break It Up, Explodes In Warning To Jewish Community
Hundreds of members of the Orthodox Jewish community attend the funeral for a rabbi who died from the coronavirus in the Borough Park neighborhood which has seen an upsurge of (COVID-19) patients during the pandemic on April 05, 2020 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. Hospitals in New York City, which has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus, are facing shortages of beds, ventilators and protective equipment for medical staff. Currently, over 122,000 New Yorkers have tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

As photos and video posted on social media show, the funeral of a New York City rabbi who died after contracting COVID-19 was attended by hundreds of mask-wearing Orthodox Jewish mourners gathered in a few blocks in the Williamsburg section in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

In a series of much-criticized social media posts, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) revealed that he drove over to the event to oversee its dispersal himself and unloaded on the Jewish community, warning that such defiance of social distancing mandates “WILL NOT be tolerated” and that he has ordered police to “summons or even arrest” those who attend such events.

The event that sparked de Blasio’s emphatic reprimand was a funeral that took place in a predominately Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn, video and photos of which have circulated on social media:

De Blasio responded on Twitter in a series of incensed posts. “Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic,” the Democratic mayor tweeted in the first of three tweets hammering the Orthodox Jews for gathering for the funeral (posts below). “When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.”

“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” he wrote in the second post. “I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”

The mayor concluded by stating that while he understands the need to mourn, he has ordered police to have a “zero tolerance” policy on violating the government’s mandates. “We have lost so many these last two months + I understand the instinct to gather to mourn. But large gatherings will only lead to more deaths + more families in mourning,” he wrote. “We will not allow this. I have instructed the NYPD to have one standard for this whole city: zero tolerance.”

De Blasio’s singling out of the Jewish community has been met with strong backlash, including from Chaim Deutsch, a City Council member who represents a largely Orthodox Jewish area of Brooklyn.

“What???” Deutsch wrote in a series of posts. “This has to be a joke. Did the Mayor of NYC really just single out one specific ethnic community (a community that has been the target of increasing hate crimes in HIS city) as being noncompliant?? Has he been to a park lately? (What am I saying – of course he has!)”

“Obviously everyone should be social distancing and being extremely careful – and almost everyone has been! With data trending in a positive direction, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel IF – and only IF – people continue to be vigilant,” he added. “But singling out one community is ridiculous. Every neighborhood has people who are being non-compliant. To speak to an entire ethnic group as though we are all flagrantly violating precautions is offensive, it’s stereotyping, and it’s inviting antisemitism. I’m truly stunned.”

Others, including Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, have likewise slammed de Blasio for singling out the Jewish community.

De Blasio’s tweets below:


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