Lincoln Heights

Swastika Carved on Door of Lincoln Heights Restaurant

The owner of Mazal, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in Lincoln Heights, says the Swastika carving isn't the first time he's faced anti-Semitic hate.

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A Israeli man who owns a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in Lincoln Heights is receiving messages of support after someone carved a symbol of hate on a gate at his business last month.

Tal Zaiet said that on June 25 his surveillance camera captured someone walking outside Mazal restaurant in the neighborhood northeast of downtown Los Angeles. He later found a Swastika carved on his security gate.

This isn't the first time he says he has faced anti-Semitic hate.

"I was naive, I think. Should've expected it and seen that sort of thing coming," said Zaiet.

People who had never tasted a thing at the restaurant posted "restaurant reviews" accusing him of cultural misappropriation. Another review called him "anti-Muslim. Another connected his menu to what it called "apartheid" in Israel.

But Zaiet, whose family is from Israel, has never made Mazal political.

The restaurant's Hebrew name means "good luck," but its hamsa logo is a nod to his mom's Morroccan heritage.

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It symbolizes unity and protection.

"If that isn't a sign of two cultures coming together, then I don't know what is," said Zaiet. 

He posted pictures of the Swastika on Instagram to alert others that someone is targeting businesses. Zaiet believes restaurants should be about good food and friends, not hatred. 

"It's like, this is still something that we have to deal with in 2022," said Zaiet. 

More than 1,000 people liked his Instagram post. Dozens of people posted messages of support.

"It's been truly heartwarming and genuinely overwhelming," said Zaiet.

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