Jerusalem’s police on Tuesday morning launched an investigation into the severe desecration of a synagogue in the heart of the city.
Vandals broke into the Siach Yisrael synagogue at the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood on Monday night and desecrated the Torah scrolls while pouring chemicals on them, broke the synagogue’s furniture and ransacked the sanctuary. Books were damaged or destroyed.
Jerusalem’s Mayor Moshe Leon, who arrived at the crime scene on Tuesday morning, stated that the incident was “reminiscent of dark periods in Jewish history, we cannot allow such crimes to occur in our times.”
Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef stated that “the Jewish heart is horrified at the sight of Torah scrolls in a terrible disgrace caused by the scoundrels inside the synagogue.”
He called on the authorities “to turn every stone, track down the criminals and take full advantage of the law.”
He further ruled that “those who were exposed to the atrocity” should accept a fast or redeem it with charity, and every Jew whose honor of Torah is dear to him, will take upon himself a day of Torah study and silence to increase and strengthen the Torah’s glory.”
The Otzmah Yehudith party called on the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) to investigate the incident.
“This morning we were confronted with a shocking anti-Semitic crime in a synagogue in Jerusalem, where vile rioters desecrated the sanctity of the synagogue, looted and destroyed the Torah scrolls and spilled acid on them. This is the most serious type of crime, the task of which is to be imposed on the Shin Bet. ”
Kiryat Yovel has been the focal point of tensions between the non-religious and Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who have moved into the area in recent years. Non-religious residents have claimed that the Ultra-Orthodox are attempting to take over and change the neighborhood. There have been previous incidents of anti-religious action in the past, including another synagogue desecration and the damaging of the Eruv.
The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization stated that a synagogue “deserves to be a place of sanctity between us and God. It is deeply distressing when we see a holy site vandalized in such a disturbing reflection of humanity’s potential for hatred. Beyond capturing those responsible, we must ensure that this serves as an opportunity to educate about the dangers of intolerance, the importance of our synagogues and the need combat all such future types of violence.”
Written by Aryeh Savir/TPS | Photo by Police Spokesman