© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

A honeymoon in Jackson ends with slashed car tires

A black truck with a blue and black sticker saying “I stand with Israel” sits in front of Snow King Mountain in Jackson.
Courtesy Image
A screenshot of a video from the Texas couple shows the "I stand with Israel" sticker on the back of their truck, which they say had its tires slashed in Jackson.

A video is racking up views online where a couple from Texas allege their tires were slashed in Jackson.

The Jackson Police Department says it's conducting a criminal investigation into the incident involving the Dallas-based couple, who say they think they were targeted because of a sticker on their truck showing their support for Israel.

Keren and Dane, who asked KHOL to keep their last name private for safety reasons, were traveling through Wyoming on their honeymoon and say they woke up to two slashed tires downtown on May 8.

Keren, a 23-year-old originally from Israel, said she thinks the incident happened because of the “I stand with Israel” sticker on the back window, but a rep for the police department says they’re still investigating the cause of the crime.

This comes amid heightened tension worldwide as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.

According to the Israeli government,1,200 people were killed in Israel and approximately 240 hostages were taken on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants attacked Israeli towns. The Gaza Ministry of Health reports over 35,000 people have been killed in Gaza since then, as Israel responds with a bombing and ground campaign.

Across the U.S., crimes against both Jewish and Muslim/Arab people have gone up since the start of the war. And, in Teton County, both supporters of Israel and Palestine say they’ve experienced increased acts of aggression.

Community response

The video posted last week on X, formerly known as Twitter, by the New York-based nonprofit StopAntisemitism shows the slashed tires and the sticker. It had over 148,000 views as of Thursday.

With Snow King Mountain in the background, it shows the slashed tires on the couple’s black truck and, on the top right corner of the back window, a blue and black sticker — half American flag and half Israeli flag, with “I stand with Israel” written below.

Mary Grossman, the executive director of the Jackson Hole Jewish Community, said she heard about the incident from the video.

“There it was,” she recalled. “Jackson Hole, Wyoming.”

Speaking on the phone from Tel Aviv, where she lives part-time, Grossman said she was surprised, even though she’s seen a slight uptick in alleged acts of this kind in Jackson.

Earlier this year, school officials found multiple swastika images in a bathroom at Summit Innovations School, according to Jackson Hole News&Guide reporting. Grossman said passersby have yelled hateful comments recently when the Jewish group gathered at town square to show support for releasing the hostages.

“You just never think in a small town, Wyoming, that this would happen, but it actually, you know, it does,” Grossman said.

Community members protesting in support of Palestinians and ending the war say they’ve also experienced harassment.

A small group has been holding signs and sharing information in the town square every week since mid-November. That includes co-organizer Dan Sheehan.

“Each of those weeks in that two-hour block, involves a number of people coming up and flipping us the bird or shouting at us, calling us terrorists, or slowing down their F-150s to roll down the window and shout something,” Sheehan said.

He said it hasn’t risen to the level of violence where they would need to make a police report, like the recent tire slashing.

In response to that incident, Sheehan said that nobody should feel like they or their property are under threat for their beliefs, but said it was a “classless move” to come into a new community with that kind of sticker.

“I think that is unnecessarily provocative at best and grossly offensive at worst,” Sheehan said. “It doesn't justify any act of vandalism towards that property if that's the reason for it. You know, we don't know if that's the case.”

The honeymooners

Since the video started making its rounds on social media, Keren said she and her husband have been shocked by the number of hateful comments.

The two had just gotten married and drove from Dallas to Whitefish, Mont., exploring in and out of national parks along the way. On their way back, they booked a two-night stay in Jackson at The Cloudveil hotel downtown on Center Street. On the second night, they say they woke up to two slashed tires.

In another video sent to KHOL, Keren sits in the front seat of their black GMC truck.

“In our honeymoon in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, out of all places, and someone slashed our tires,” she says, zooming in on the slashed tires. “Why? Because I’m from Israel, and we have this sticker on the back of our truck.”

Keren said she put it on her car to bring a smile to people from Israel and people who stand with the state.

“It was a sticker of my nationality. A sticker of my identity,” she said. “I consider myself American just as much as I consider myself Israeli and it wasn't hurting anyone. It was on my personal property.”

At the time of reporting, it’s still unclear if the tire slashing in Jackson and the Israel sticker are linked, as the police investigation is ongoing.

“If, in the end, the results of the investigation show that it could be criminally charged under the Jackson Municipal Code (9.27.010) for Bias Crimes then we would certainly consider using that enhancement to make a charging decision,” Lieutenant Russ Ruschill wrote in an email to KHOL.

Jackson is one of a few towns in Wyoming that has an anti-bias ordinance. The state does not have a hate crimes law.

Jackson’s ordinance protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, age and more. Those found in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a $750 fine, six months in jail or both.

Ruschill added that if the results of the investigation don’t satisfy the requirement of that law, there are other statutes available to prosecute under. He said that the tire slashing appears to be an isolated incident in the community.

If investigators run out of leads or believe there’s some threat to public safety, Ruschill said the police may reach out to the public for assistance through a press release or on social media, but there's no timeframe for when that could happen.

In the meantime, Keren said she and her new husband spent some of their wedding present money on new tires, and they took the sticker off their car before heading back to Texas.

“What it stands for is like standing for what you believe in, freedom of speech,” she said. “But, also, super important to just stay safe.”

Hanna is KHOL's senior reporter and managing editor. A lot of her work focuses on housing and local politics, but also women's health — and whatever else she finds interesting. You can hear her reporting around the country and region on NPR, Wyoming Public Radio and community radio stations around the west. She hails from Bend, Oregon, where she reported for outlets such as the Atlantic, High Country News and Oregon Public Broadcasting. In her free time, you can find Hanna scaling rock walls or adventuring in the mountains.
Dante Filpula Ankney comes to KHOL as a lifelong resident of the Mountain West. He made his home on the plains of Eastern Montana before moving to the Western Montana peaks to study journalism and wilderness studies. Dante has found success producing award-winning print, audio and video stories for a variety of publications, including a stint as a host at Montana Public Radio. Most recently, he spent a year teaching English in Bulgaria through a Fulbright Fellowship. When he isn’t reporting, you can find Dante outside scaling rocks, sliding across snow or winning a game of cribbage.
Related Content