Swastika graffiti (illustration)
Swastika graffiti (illustration)Reuters

Congregants at the Pitchei Olam synagogue in central Jerusalem were shocked to find the site desecrated when they arrived for prayers early Thursday.

Vandals set fire to the curtain that hangs in front of the Holy Ark, where the scrolls of the Torah are housed, and scrawled swastikas and anti-Jewish epithets around the building.

Police were called in and have opened an investigation. A police spokesperson said that the investigation would encompass all possible motivations, and police were confident they would apprehend the culprits.

The Pitchei Olam synagogue is located on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem, which has been at its location for decades. The area is a mix of tourists, shoppers, and local residents, and is not considered a “controversial” location.

Synagogue officials said that they had no history of friction with any of their neighbors.