Jerusalem city hall, Safra Square
Jerusalem city hall, Safra SquareIsrael news photo: Flash 90

City workers on Sunday morning were shocked to discover anti-Semitic and anti-Israel graffiti daubed on a synagogue in the center of Jerusalem – the Shmuel Meir synagogue, located in Safra Square, adjacent to the Jerusalem Municipality building.

The Square is actually home to numerous local and national government buildings, is centrally located, and is a hub of activity at all hours of the day. The synagogue is named for former Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Shmuel Meir, who was killed in a traffic incident in 1996. The Homat Shmuel neighborhood in south Jerusalem – also known as Har Homa – is named for him as well.

The primitive scrawlings were erased within an hour of their being discovered by workers, said Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari. Writing on his Facebook page, Hadari said that the graffiti was written in Hebrew and Arabic, and included “very insulting comments against Jewish residents of Jerusalem,” so there was little doubt of which ethnic group the perpetrators belonged to. “Thanks to the great efficiency of the city workers, we were able to remove the graffiti quickly, so I was unable to get a photo in time,” he wrote.

As to the motivation for the attack, Hadari said that it could be an Arab version of a so-called “price tag” attack. Such attacks, usually involving graffiti and slashed tires, are generally attributed in the media to Jews, with media sources reporting very precisely on the actions. However, Hadari said, the media had not bothered to cover the synagogue desecration. “It appears they are not very interested in Arab 'price tag' attacks,” he wrote.