At the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, NJ, a Jewish family, including two children aged 12 and 16, faced a disturbing encounter. The family was subjected to verbal and physical abuse, primarily targeting the 16-year-old daughter who was wearing an IDF sweatshirt.

They were confronted with vile insults and pro-Palestinian slogans, including “Free Palestine.” The situation escalated to physical violence when the mother was attacked, an act caught on video showing the attacker slapping the mother’s phone away. Marla Bonilla Hernandez from Yonkers, NY, has been identified as the assailant​​.

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Who is Marla Bonilla Hernandez?

Currently, limited information is available about Marla Bonilla Hernandez, other than her identification in this specific incident. She is a graduate of the Barack Obama School for Social Justice, but further details about her background, beliefs, or motivations behind the attack remain unclear.

This incident at the American Dream Mall is part of a worrying trend of rising antisemitism globally. Incidents of verbal and physical assaults against Jewish individuals and communities have been increasing, causing alarm among human rights organizations and governments.

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Such incidents often stem from long-standing prejudices and are sometimes inflamed by current political tensions, including the Israel-Palestine conflict. Governments and community leaders are called upon to address this rise in hate crimes through education, legal measures, and promoting inter-community dialogue.