Homeland Security

Man Who Menaced North Hollywood Synagogue with Machete Arrested

A man who was taking selfies while holding a machete and making menacing gestures in front of a North Hollywood Chabad synagogue on Friday was arrested later that night, according to local media reports.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Information Center indicates that 49-year-old David Brener was arrested late Friday evening, and released Saturday afternoon on a $10,000 bond.

Brener’s apparent Facebook page indicates that he is originally from Odessa, Ukraine, and features numerous anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian posts.

This video posted in October appears to show Brener, and presents him as an independent candidate for the California 30th District congressional seat in 2020.


The case was handled by the LAPD Major Crimes Division.

CBS-Los Angeles reported:

An image of a masked man with a machete scared many people at a local synagogue but Saturday night an arrest was made.

A frightening picture taken outside the Chabad of North Hollywood appears to show a man with his face covered in a scarf, holding a machete in a threatening manner toward the Chabad.

“Obviously the image is very disturbing,” said Rabbi Nachman Abend. “A man with a sword standing in front of a synagogue with his face wrapped the way it was is very concerning.”

The incident happened Friday afternoon. Rabbi Abend says a member of the community took the picture and sent it to them. They called police immediately, fearing for the safety of their congregation.

“We do not believe there’s any relation to anybody here. We really do not know who he is. It sounds like he wants to protest something but we’re not sure what he’s trying to protest,” said Rabbi Abend.

A member of the Jewish community captured pictures of the incident outside the Saara Ratner-Stauber Synagogue.

LAPD was able to track down Brener from surveillance video taken by the synagogue’s cameras.

Brener is scheduled for a January 9 court date, according to the sheriff’s department.

This incident occurred just three weeks after a Somali Muslim immigrant attempted to run down worshipers outside a Hancock Park synagogue.

Mohamed Abdi Mohamed of Seattle was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon in that case:

According to witness, Abdi was yelling “F**king Jews! F**king Jews!” during the attack.

Abdi reportedly insulted a couple leaving the synagogue before getting into his car and attempting to run over two men.

This is not the first time that Jews in North Hollywood have been targeted recently.

Last month, 33-year-old Steven Szwet was arrested after a string of incidents in which he ripped off the wigs of Orthodox Jewish women in the area. One of the victims included an 80-year-old lady, and two of the incidents occurred on Yom Kippur — one of the holiest days in Judaism.

Szwet was released on a $20,000 bond.

A North Hollywood realtor and a member of the local Jewish community had a sales listing sign vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti last month.

The American Jewish community remains on edge after the October 27 mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 worshipers.

There have also been several anti-Semitic incidents in areas of New York City with large Jewish populations.

Last month, a man was sought by police in a possible hate crime investigation for punching and kicking a man wearing a yarmulke in Brooklyn. The attack was captured on a security surveillance camera.

In October, Pakistani livery driver Farrukh Afzal was charged with a hate crime after he beat 62-year-old Orthodox Rabbi Lipa Schwartz while shouting “Allah, Allah” and saying he wanted to “kill all Jews” at an intersection in the Borough Park neighborhood of New York City. Rabbi Schwartz was walking to morning services at the synagogue when he was attacked.

The NYPD recommended hate crime charges against Afzal in that attack, but the district attorney’s office declined to press those charges. A grand jury later indicted Afzal and included the hate crime charge.

On November 29, a Jewish teen in Queens was assaulted by a group of 20-30 teens shouting “kill the Jew” and other anti-Semitic statements. Rather than brand the incident a hate crime, the NYPD charged two of the assailants with felony gang assault.

And just a week ago a Muslim convert in Ohio was arrested for planning an ISIS-inspired mass terror attack on two Toledo-area Jewish synagogues.