‘Astonishment and shock’: Synagogue in Tel Aviv suburb vandalized with swastikas

The vandalism was committed on the anniversary of the stabbing of Shira Banki at the 2015 Jerusalem gay pride parade.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Worshipers arriving at the Young Israel of Bnei Brak on Saturday morning were shocked to find swastikas painted on the doors of the synagogue.

The vandalism was committed on the anniversary of the stabbing of Shira Banki at the 2015 Jerusalem gay pride parade, and photographs of Banki were scattered around the synagogue’s entrances.

As a further act of desecration, a condom was placed on one of the door handles of the synagogue.

“A sense of astonishment and shock surrounds the worshipers of the Young Israel synagogue, which was established and founded by many Holocaust survivors,” Rabbi Asher Landau, head of the synagogue, said in a statement.

“I call on everyone to respect each other and love each other. I expect the shocking and unfortunate case to be mourned by all the rabbis and leaders in a discourse that will contribute to unity and not, God forbid, to divisions,” Landau said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement, “The vandalism at a synagogue in Bnei Brak is a very grave act of hatred and incitement.”

“Showing contempt for what is sacred to the Jewish people, in part by the reprehensible use of pictures of the late Shira Banki, who was murdered, is a loathsome and wicked act about which we will not be silent,” he said.

Bennett called for the police to deal with the criminals to the fullest extent of the law, and for the people of Israel to “unite in love for one another.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also called for the police to quickly investigate and find the person responsible for the vandalism. “With the one who committed this horrible act, one should exhaust all the severity of the law,” he tweeted.

Yaakov Vider, chairman of the Likud party of Bnei Brak, tweeted, “We take the event very seriously! Spray-painting swastikas on the Zionist synagogue in the city is reminiscent of very dark days in the history of the Jewish people.”

On July 30, 2015, 16-year-old Shira Banki was stabbed while marching in the Jerusalem gay pride parade. She died of her wounds three days later, and Yishai Schlissel was convicted of her murder.