VIDEO - Worshippers who arrived on Thursday morning to pray in the Great Synagogue in Petach Tikva were shocked to discover that the synagogue was broken into and the walls, arc and even a Torah book were spayed with swastikas. The worshipers called the police who initiated an investigation and dispatched the Forensics Division to help and possibly identify the perpetrators. Back in March another synagogue in Petach Tikva was desecrated.
Stunned worshipers at synagogue (Photo: Ofer Amram)
Yaakov Pelhaimer, who prays in the synagogue and is also a member of the city council, said: "What they have done is no longer an act of hatred, but insanity. Several people broke into the synagogue and desecrated the place with swastikas and wrote 'Hitler'. I'm not talking about one caption but a lot of graffiti. There is even one writing we can't decipher and it seems that it has to do with Satan's cult."
Photo: Ofer Amram
Pelhaimer added that the synagogue exists for over 100 years and it's a central place, open to everyone. "My uncle worships there. He and his family arrived from Germany after he lost part of his family in the Holocaust. How can a man who lost his family in the Holocaust face this synagogue with swastikas? And it's only been 10 days since the Holocaust Memorial Day.
Video: Ofer Amram
"This scene is beyond horrifying; desecrated Torah books, swastikas sprayed on the arc, on the stage where people pray on, dozens of swastikas. I hate to think what the perpetrators could do to other people. What has been done to the synagogue is a dark day, not only to residents of Petah Tikva, but also to the county and for all Jews", added Pelhaimer.
At beginning of March a similar incident took place in the Rambam Synagogue in Petach Tikva, where the perpetrators sprayed swastikas and wrote "Death to the Jews" on the synagogue's walls. Similar writings were found also on the walls of a nearby yeshiva and a kindergarten.
Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said that "Desecration of the synagogue is reminiscent of darker days when synagogues in Europe were desecrated and we hope that the perpetrators will be caught soon and be judged to the maximum sentence."