Religious residents of the city stressed that it was not necessarily haredim who had set the shop on fire.
Safed police chief Superintendent Amos Shimoni told Ynet that around 5 am this morning, the dispatcher received close to 100 calls about the fire. When police cars arrived on the scene, they found the store up in flames. After firefighers put out the blaze, which tool over an hour, the police took samples from the site of the fire and a sapper tried to ascertain what had caused the explosion.
So far, no one has been taken into custody in connection with this case.
New immigrants vs. veteran residentsThe incident quickly became the talk of the town. One rabbi explained that the northern city has always served as an absorption center for immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. He added that the store in question had operated for three years without any problems and that it was too early to point the finger at anyone for suspected arson.
Sergei, a resident of Safed for three years, said that if it turned out that the store was set on fire because non-kosher meat was sold there, the perpetrators should be punished "as if they had set fire to a clothing store or a supermarket in any other city."
The religious residents of the city are asking for people to wait until more information is known in order to avoid widening the rift between the secular and religious residents there.
Kindergarten blaze in HaifaOn a similar note, Haifa police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding a fire that broke out in a kindergarten near a synagogue in the Romema neighborhood in the city. The site has been the center of an ongoing struggle between the strictly Orthodox who want to turn the synagogue into a Torah academy and secular Jews oppose the influx of religious Jews into their neighborhood.
Haifa Police Chief Superintendent Benny Avelia told Ynet that the police were treating this incident as arson despite the fact that the fire department's investigations were ongoing.
However, he said he did not believe that the arson was carried out as a result of secular-religious struggle in the neighborhood since setting fire to a kindergarten would not serve either side's interests.
Ahiya Raved contributed to the report