Two Israeli men with family members who are believed to be held hostage by Hamas confronted antisemitic outrage in New York City on Wednesday when a woman ripped down posters of the kidnapped victims right in front of them.
One witness called the outburst a sign of the attacker’s “inhumanity.”
The unidentified woman flippantly waved off the heartbroken Israelis as she scurried off down the street.
Thomas Hand’s 8-year-old daughter, Emily, and Michael Levy’s 32-year-old brother, Or, have been missing since the Oct. 7 terror attacks in Israel — and are believed to be imprisoned in Gaza by Hamas.
“I’m horrified,” Naor Shalem, a pedestrian who saw the shocking incident, told Fox News Digital.
“I just don’t understand what they’re trying to achieve.”
Hand and Levy were looking at images of kidnap victims on a fence outside Central Synagogue on East 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan.
Levy’s brother was among those whose faces were displayed at the busy intersection of Park Avenue.
The woman walked past the two men — then angrily tore down about 10 posters with the names, faces and ages of the hostages.
Hand — grief-stricken ever since his little girl disappeared on Oct. 7 — shouted out in anguish at the woman.
He briefly appeared overcome with shock by what he had just seen.
The father’s suffering over the past 40 days has made international headlines.
He was first told in the days after the terror attack that his little girl was dead.
He said in one interview that he welcomed her death because it was better than her being held captive and tortured by Hamas.
He found out later that his daughter had been taken hostage by Hamas.
“It’s a mystery why anyone would do this,” Hand said after collecting his thoughts following what he witnessed on a New York City street, still visibly shaken.
Young Emily will likely spend her 9th birthday on Friday “in darkness,” he said in an earlier interview with Fox News Digital.
Emily is one of 32 children who is among the 240 Israelis apparently being held hostage in Gaza by Hamas terrorists.
The woman who defiled the images of the hostage in Manhattan appeared to be in her 20s, had jet-black hair and was wearing a green winter coat.
She responded only with silence when asked by a Fox News Digital reporter, who witnessed the incident and caught up with her down the block, why she tore down the posters of the kidnap victims.
The antisemitic action came while both Hand and Levy are speaking to people this week as part of an Israeli delegation in New York City to raise awareness of the plight of the hostages and their families.
Rob Anders, head of the Tel Aviv-based volunteer organization Bring Them Home Now, and Israeli trauma expert Ofrit Shapira-Berman PhD, also witnessed the antisemitic action.
Hand said he’s been “a refugee” ever since his kibbutz of Be’eri in southern Israel was overrun by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.
His daughter had spent the previous night sleeping over at a friend’s house when the attackers broke into the home and took Emily and others hostage.
Michael Levy said his brother likely saw his own wife murdered as they hid in a bus station bomb shelter that Hamas attacked with grenades.
The couple’s son, Almog, is now an orphan who is being cared for by family members, said Levy, pending the hoped-for return of the boy’s widowed father.
“They’re not winning the hearts and minds of people by showing their inhumanity,” said eyewitness Shalem, after picking up the vandalized kidnap victim posters off the Manhattan sidewalk.
“I think the silent majority, in this world, in this country, has to speak up more and do more — otherwise people like this will just continue.”
Sydney Borchers of Fox News Digital contributed reporting.