Woman who drove car into what she thought was a Jewish school labeled a 'terrorist'

Ruba Almaghtheh
Ruba Almaghtheh | IMPD

Police arrested an Indiana woman who admitted that she planned to attack what she thought was a Jewish school after watching news coverage of the Israel and Hamas war. However, the building is used by an anti-Semitic hate group. 

The woman, 34-year-old Ruba Almaghtheh, backed her car into the building belonging to the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge in Indianapolis on Friday night while children and adults were inside. Almaghtheh later told police the "Hebrew Israelite" symbol on the front of the facility offended her.

Almaghtheh was later arrested on a preliminary charge of criminal recklessness. 

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According to an updated Monday Fox59 report, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police labeled the woman a "terrorist" for driving into what she thought was a Jewish school. Citing a police report, the outlet reports authorities were called to the scene to investigate a hate crime. 

Almaghtheh reportedly made references to "her people back in Palestine" and admitted to the police that she had driven her car into the building on purpose. In an interview with detectives, the woman said that she committed the act during a phone call with a family member. 

Police said that Almaghtheh passed by the building a couple of times before committing the crime and referred to it as the "Israel school." The suspect's first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, and the IMPD has also reported the crime to the FBI. 

"Safety and security for our community is of the utmost importance, and we are more secure and prepared than ever before," Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis officials said in a statement about the incident. 

"Although a Jewish facility was not targeted, solely due to ironic misidentification, this is yet another reminder to maintain security protocols, remain vigilant of suspicious activity and to (report promptly) to the appropriate authorities," the statement continued.

While the suspect believed that she had backed her car into a Jewish school, the building she drove into is used by the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge, a sect of the Black Hebrew Israelites. 

According to The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy organization, the ISUPK is an "extreme" and "anti-Semitic" sect of the BHI that believes it is the "true" BHI group due to connections with early organizations. 

As the ADL has previously explained, the BHI is a "fringe religious movement" that claims the Twelve Tribes of Israel are people of color. The group is not to be confused with black Jews or Jews of color who are genuine members of the Jewish faith, according to the ADL. 

Members of the BHI share their message through street teachings and public speaking events, and the group is divided into various sects that operate semi-independently throughout the United States. 

"BHI teachings become explicitly hateful when coupled with racial superiority and accusations against white individuals and specific hatred towards the Jewish community," the ADL explained. "Extremist Black Hebrew Israelites assert that white people are agents of Satan, Jews are liars and false worshipers of God, and Blacks are racially superior and the only true 'chosen people.'"

Earlier this year, the ADL released its annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. According to the report, the ADL documented 3,697 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2022, a 36% increase from last year. 

The report found that cases of anti-Semitic harassment increased by 29% (2,298), vandalism increased by 51% (1,288) and anti-Semitic assaults increased by 26% (111). In 107 of the 111 assault cases documented, attacks were conducted without the use of a deadly weapon, although at least one assault resulted in a fatality.

Following Hamas' Oct. 7 attack against civilians in southern Israel that resulted in more than 1,400 deaths, multiple pro-Palestinian demonstrations have taken place globally. Since Israel's retaliatory airstrikes and ground invasion in Gaza began, Hamas-run health authorities claim over 10,000 people have died. Those numbers don't differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths. 

Attendees at several protests have referred to supporters of the Jewish State as "pigs," and some have even chanted "Gas the Jews." During a protest Saturday, demonstrators gathered outside of the White House, demanding a ceasefire and an end to the United States' support for Israel. 

Protestors smeared the gate with red paint intended to look like blood and chanted things like "We don't want two states; we want 48!" and "F— Joe Biden."

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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