Unknown vandals broke into a Jerusalem synagogue overnight, causing serious damage to the synagogue’s Torah scrolls and furniture, police said Tuesday morning.
The synagogue targeted by the vandals is located in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, an area that has seen tensions rise between some of the area’s secular residents and its religious community, following an influx of haredi Jews looking for affordable housing in the capital.
Authorities say the neighborhood’s French synagogue, Siach Yisrael, was vandalized Monday night, though the discovery was only made Tuesday morning.
In addition to the synagogue’s Torah scrolls, numerous prayer books were damaged or destroyed.
Synagogue officials notified local police, and an investigation into the break-in has been opened.
“This morning we were notified regarding a shocking case of synagogue desecration and the destruction of Torah scrolls in Kiryat Yovel,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.
“This terrible incident reminds us of the dark times for the Jewish people. We cannot allow such crimes to happen today. I have just spoken to the Jerusalem District police commander and I am certain that the Israel Police will soon get their hands on the criminals."
Last year, vandals defaced a synagogue on the edge of Kiryat Yovel, and have on multiple occasions vandalized the neighborhood’s Eruv – a string put up around the outside of the neighborhood to enable Orthodox Jews to carry items outside on the Sabbath.