A Tel Aviv synagogue was vandalized Sunday with graffiti reading, “In a place where the Jewish State Bill will be legislated, books will be burned.”
The vandals left a pile of burned books next to the wall that bore the graffiti. The books are not sacred texts.
The attack took place at the The Tel Aviv International Synagogue where Ariel Konstantyn of the Orthodox Zionist Tzohar Rabbis organization, originally of New York, serves as rabbi. Rabbi Konstantyn says the incident has been referred to the police but he views it as a “clear act of anti-Semitism.” According to the rabbi, the timing of the attack and the explicit graffiti seem to indicate that this was perpetrated by radical left-wing activists.
Rabbi Konstantyn expressed his shock saying “It is ironic and shocking that they targeted a synagogue where every perspective is respected and welcomed and where Jews are taught to love each other regardless of their political views.”
The rabbi pointed out that the founding of the International Synagogue was as initiative of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization as a hub of inclusive outreach to the greater Tel-Aviv community. Over the past few years the synagogue has hosted Shabbat and holiday programs for thousands of Jews from all walks of life and political backgrounds.
Rabbi David Stav, Founder and Chairman of Tzohar said that the violent attack is an indicator of the lack of respect that exists within certain groups in Israeli society. “Rather than promote a healthy dialogue with other Jews who think differently, these individuals are resorting to the tactics of terrorists,” Rabbi Stav said.
“We are all entitled to have differing viewpoints on the challenges facing our society but anyone who resorts to violence of this nature – and in particular who targets a holy sanctuary – deserves to be condemned in every manner possible.”
Tzohar has been among the leading organizations working within Israeli society to promote increased dialogue on sensitive issues dividing left and right, secular and religious. “As an organization dedicated to guaranteeing the Jewish future of Israel, we understand and appreciate the differing viewpoints on the Jewish State Bill,” added Nachman Rosenberg, Executive Vice President of Tzohar. “This manner of disgraceful behavior is yet another alarming indicator of the need to remind us of who we are and what this country was founded for.”