Davis police investigating antisemitic graffiti ‘meant to induce fear’ as hate incident

Leah Hibel and her husband embarked on a normal Monday morning walk with their dogs in Davis when they spotted it from afar: A brick wall spray painted with an apparent Israel flag.

But, at the center wasn’t the Star of David. A swastika was etched into the brick wall, which separated a residential neighborhood from Highway 113, according to the Davis residents.

“It’s meant to induce fear,” said Leah Hibel, 42, who saw the vandalism and is Jewish. “This is a way of spreading hate.”

Antisemitic acts have skyrocketed across America since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The organization estimates reported incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault increased by 388% when compared to the same period last year.

Leah Hibel said she wasn’t shocked when she saw the graffiti — it was exhaustion that overtook her because of such repeated incidents. She wondered if she there could be one day that she wouldn’t see something antisemitic.

Hibel added she called the police, but officers told her the incident, near Joshua Tree and Rio Grande streets, had been reported before they called. The apparent vandalism was cleaned up soon after, she added.

Lt. Dan Beckwith, a spokesman for the Davis Police Department, said officers responded to the incident and are investigating it as a hate incident.