Rabbi: No Doubt this Synagogue in Ramle was Torched

The rabbi of the synagogue that was set on fire in Ramle: There is no way that the fire was caused by a short circuit.

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Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski,

Inside torched Ramle synagogue
Inside torched Ramle synagogue
Israel news photo: Yoni Kempinski

The rabbi of the synagogue that was set on fire in the city of Ramle earlier this week dismissed on Wednesday the police’s claims that the fire was caused by a short circuit.

“I’m sure that someone set fire to this place,” Rabbi Shelly Refael said in a conversation with Arutz Sheva.

He noted that certain rooms remained untouched and did not sustain damage, while only a certain section was damaged – a certain indicator that someone had deliberately started the fire.

“It cannot be a short circuit because I saw that a grating had been opened and a window broken,” Rabbi Refael said. “My student who was here he asked the fire department and the electrical company’s people if they entered through that grating and they said they didn’t. He asked them if they touched it and they said they hadn’t.”

He said that this is not the first or even the tenth time his synagogue had been torched, noting that he is currently in the process of turning the synagogue into a spiritual center for youths and that every time he completes work on a section of the building, a different section of it is set on fire.

“I really don’t know who could have done this,” he said. “I have no enemies. I can’t say for certain that Arabs did this because I have good relations with everyone. Everybody likes me. I don’t know who did it. I don’t know how people can do something like this.”

Rabbi Refael said that he would like the authorities to “keep an eye out [for arsonists], show that they care. Why do I have to pay the price every time?”

Earlier this week, some Jewish residents of Ramle said police are afraid to confront local Arabs and deal with the rise in terrorism against local Jews.

“In general, they are trying to obfuscate the fact that there is terrorism against the Jews in the city, targeting core members of the religious community,” one resident said. “The police do not dare to fight this terrorism out of fear they won't be seen as politically correct - instead they accuse the victims of inciting their attackers.”

Rabbi Uriyah Shachor, who heads Ramle’s religious core group, called on the police to locate the people who torched both the synagogue and the car of a local religious school principal.

“There is no real concern for human life but these acts certainly put people on the edge,” he told Arutz Sheva. “Let’s hope they catch the people who did this.”