Jerusalem synagogue desecrated: ‘Recalls dark periods of Jewish history’

A synagogue in Jerusalem was vandalized over Monday night. It is the second case of a synagogue having been desecrated this week.

By World Israel News Staff

A synagogue serving the French community in Kiryat Yoval, a neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem, was vandalized on Monday night. The synagogue’s Torah ark was smashed and the Torah scrolls thrown on the ground.

Police have already set up a special investigation team and the synagogue was closed this morning to allow forensic investigators to work, Israel’s Channel 20 reports. The neighborhood has a history of friction between religious and secular Jews, according to Israel Hayom.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin expressed shock at the news. Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon said the vandalism was “a grave event reminiscent of dark periods of the Jewish people.”

“I’ve spoken with the Jerusalem bureau at the moment and I am sure that the Israeli police will soon put their hands on the criminals,” the mayor said.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said, “The Jewish heart is horrified at the sight of scattered Torah scrolls done by ungodly people inside the synagogue.”

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“The authorities must overturn every stone, until they reach the criminals and hit them with the full severity of the law,” the rabbi said.

Bezalel Smotrich, recently appointed head of the religious-Zionist National Union party, said: “These harsh scenes remind us of the dark periods in the history of our people … I call on the enforcement authorities to do everything necessary to locate the perpetrators immediately and put them on trial.”

The synagogue is named after Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, who was killed together with two of his children on March 19, 2012, in a terrorist attack in Toulouse, France.

Netanya vandalism

The Jerusalem vandalism follows another that was discovered in the seaside city of Netanya on Sunday. A house of worship  was struck by vandals who scrawled praise for “Satan” and burned holy books.

A pentagram was also spray painted on a wall.

The synagogue is attended mainly by English speakers from the United Kingdom.