12 Orthodox Jewish men arrested for digging under Chabad headquarters

The synagogue will be closed pending a structural safety review.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

On Tuesday, twelve members of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement were arrested at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn after rioting when the illegal tunnels they had built in the synagogue were dismantled.

Chabad media director Motti Seligson described how “extremist students” broke through the walls adjacent to the synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway to gain unauthorized access.

Three weeks ago, a local resident said they heard sounds in the walls, and it was discovered that the extremist students built tunnels underneath Chabad headquarters which also serves as a synagogue.

Chabad Chairman Yehudah Krinsky was highly critical of the “young agitators” who built the tunnels and took steps to repair the damage that may have threatened the integrity of the building.

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The tension escalated after a cement truck arrived to fill in the tunnels and the extremists broke out into a riot.

Videos on social media showed the extent of the damage with the interiors of the synagogue torn apart.

Also apparent in the videos are the tunnels the students said they built because they wanted to study there.

Young men can be seen tearing away wooden panels in the synagogue with one removing from behind the panels a mattress with what appears to be blood on it.

At one point in the video, Hasidic men are seen emerging from a sewer system around the corner of the house.

The group became increasingly rowdy, standing on chairs and knocking over tables until one of the police officers said he would have to “shut down the whole shul.”

Rabbi Krinsky said, “These odious actions will be investigated, and the sanctity of the synagogue will be restored.”

Rabbi Krinsky also extended  thanks to the NYPD for their “professionalism and sensitivity.”

Motti Seligson announced that 770 will be closed pending a “structural safety review” and described the events as “deeply distressing to the Lubavitch movement, and the Jewish community worldwide.”

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He added, “We hope and pray to be able to expeditiously restore the sanctity and decorum of this holy place.”