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Non-Jewish Russians Suspected of Vandalizing Synagogue

Non-Jewish Russians are suspected of having vandalized the Great Petach Tikva Synagogue Monday night, leaving the house of worship in shambles.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 11/9/2010, 5:53 PM / Last Update: 11/10/2010, 9:08 AM

 

 

Non-Jewish Russians are suspected of having vandalized the Petach Tikvah Great Synagogue Monday night, leaving the house of worship in shambles. Police are investigating the latest attack, which shocked worshippers who arrived for morning prayers.

 

Striking on the evening before Kristallnacht, the vandals broke a glass window to enter the synagogue and then desecrated a holy Torah scroll and hurled prayer books on the floor, where they also spilled paint.

The anti-Semites pulled prayer seats from the floor and destroyed shelves and cupboards storing holy books.

A gang of non-Jews from the former Soviet Bloc have been involved in previous incidents in the city, adjacent to Tel Aviv, and police three months ago arrested an 18-year-old who cursed worshippers and threatened them.

Last March, vandals sprayed Swastikas and wrote ‘Death to Jews” on the “Rambam synagogue” in Petach Tikvah, and similar slogans were found on a yeshiva.

The phenomena of anti-Semitism in Israel, once unthinkable, has become more common in recent years following action in the government of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon aas well as  previous Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin's Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban (Meretz)  to allow more than 250,000 non-Jews to enter the country as citizens. While Sharon reasoned that their presence would reduce the percentage of Arabs in the country, the left wing and anti-religious parties hoped they would be a contra to the growing Haredi and Religious Zionist Jewish population. The non-Jewish Russians have left a secular, sometimes Christian and often anti-Semitic imprint on many urban neighborhoods and small cities.

Initially, they were supposed to enter the country only if they had at least one Jewish parent, although Jewish law defines a Jew as one born to a Jewish mother, with the exception of converts. In fact, regulations were relaxed or ignored for tens of thousands of non-Jewish couples to immigrate and settle in Israel.

Some of them are Christians who also conduct illegal missionary activities in public.