Residents of Ashdod were shocked to discover this morning (Thursday) that someone had set fire to their sukkahs just two days before the Sukkot holiday.
At least four sukkot were completely burned to the ground by the arsonist, and several others were damaged before the fires could be extinguished. Police have arrested a suspect in the burnings, but the incident remains under investigation.
The suspect is believed to be mentally unstable.
Gabi, one of the residents whose sukkah was burned, said: "We came back from praying in the synagogue, the sukkahs were still intact, and when I went to leave for work, I suddenly saw the neighbor's sukkah completely burnt, and Magen David Adom and police outside. I approached and then I realized that they also set fire to our sukkah and other sukkahs of our neighbors in the neighborhood."
"I have never encountered anything like this, I did not believe such hatred was possible," he added. "Everything that was prepared for tomorrow for the first night of the holiday, the decorations, the tables - everything was burned. The police are here, they took testimony from us and the children are standing in front and crying. It's really sad to see."
Another resident who lives nearby said: "After the pogrom in Tel Aviv came the pogrom in Ashdod. You have to see it to understand. Simply shocking. People worked so hard for the holiday and in one moment someone destroyed everything. Antisemitism in Israel has increased like a snowball. Truthfully? I'm frightened."
"The court rewards those who commit pogroms in Tel Aviv, I have not heard of anyone being arrested and this is exactly what gives legitimacy to others to do whatever they want. The police cannot help, it is bigger than they. The people of Israel have to decide which side they are on," he said.
The police said: "This morning a report was received at the Israel Police hotline in the southern district regarding a suspect who set fire to several sukkahs in District 8 in the city of Ashdod. Police officers from the Ashdod station quickly arrived on the scene and based on the direction and questioning of the citizens identified the suspect after he also stole a bottle of beer from a neighborhood grocery store."
"In additional searches carried out by the police officers, six sukkahs were found that were damaged. The suspect, a 30-year-old resident of Ashdod, was handed over to the Israel Police for questioning. A quick response by the patrol car of the station led to the quick arrest of the suspect," the police said.