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'Price Tag' Hits Conservative Synagogue?

Jerusalem synagogue blames Jewish leaders after sign defaced with swastikas in Stars of David, 'Americans out!' painted on wall.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/12/2014, 3:45 PM

'Price Tag' at Moreshet Yisrael
'Price Tag' at Moreshet Yisrael
Loren Sykes

Anonymous vandals committed a "price tag" vandalism attack on Monday morning at Moreshet Yisrael, a synagogue of the Conservative movement in the center of Jerusalem.

On a sign at the entrance to the synagogue, Jewish stars with Nazi swastikas in the middle of them were scrawled by the vandals.

According to the synagogue, this isn't the first time such an incident has occurred; indeed they report that this makes the third case of vandalism in recent days. Two days ago they report that "Americans out!" was written on a wall opposite the synagogue.

While the vandals remain unknown and the equation of a Star of David with a Nazi swastika would tend to hint at Arab culprits, Attorney Yizhar Hass, director of the Conservative movement, held Jewish leaders responsible.

"The serious graffiti on the Conservative synagogue in the center of Jerusalem... again reminds how much hate crimes are a slippery slope. Those who yesterday gave Jewish legal justification, explicit or intimated, to 'price tag' criminals, today give justification to the attack on liberal synagogues," claimed Hass.

The synagogue's rabbi, Rabbi Adam Frank, stated that the event shocked congregation members "but also must shock all of Israel, and in particular its leaders and rabbis." Frank added on Hass's words, saying "we're no longer on a slippery slope, we're in free fall."

Similarly, Frank found Jewish leaders to blame, saying "this has to be a time of reflection for those rabbis who teach hate and anger instead of loving the nation of Israel."

Who to blame for "price tag"?

The vandalism brings to mind a case from last week during Independence Day, when anonymous vandals defaced Israeli flags in the central Jerusalem neighborhood of Katamon with Nazi swastikas inside the Star of David.

Likewise authorities in the Samaria community of Emmanuel on Saturday found a bus stop vandalized with Palestinian Authority (PA) flags, along with a sign saying, "Israel is a terror state / Get out of our land." 

While nationalistically motivated vandalism by Jews gets vast media attention, and was criticized by the Conservative movement leaders in this incident, these examples of Arab "price tag" raise far less outcry.

Incidents of Arab "price tagging" have included on the graves of Tannaic scholars in the north, as well as the ancient grave of Elazar Hacohen, the son of Moses's brother Aaron from the Torah.

In addition, an Arutz Sheva report in January revealed that in at least some of the cases, anti-Arab "price tags" were being systematically staged by Arab activists.