Firefighters (archive photo)
Photo: Raanan Ben Zur

Ukraine: Jewish school torched

Youths with history of harassing Chabad students set fire to Jewish school in Kiev, causing massive damage but no injuries. Local Chabad leaders say motive behind arson likely anti-Semitism

The 'Simcha' school in Kiev, an institution goaled towards young Chabad followers in the Ukraine, was torched Wednesday evening in an apparent act of anti-Semitism.


The school's 600 students were fortunately away on vacation during the time of the fire. The fire spread rapidly through the building, leaving extensive damage in its path.


Rabbi Moti Levenhartz, a Chabad representative to Kiev, told Ynet that the school was in a residential area but that despite being surrounded by a perimeter fence, local youths often manage to get inside the grounds. The groups often drink alcohol or use drugs on the relatively private premises.


The rabbi said that in the past the youths have broken windows in the school with rocks and cursed at passing students. Last week, Levenhartz said, one of the rocks thrown the windows had a note proclaiming 'Death to the Jews!' attached to it.


Local residents said the same youths set fire to the school's back door and ran away. Levenhartz said that initially the police had not wanted to attend to the crime, but relented to investigate after the Jewish community expressed its outrage.


The Jewish Agency representative to Kiev, Veronica Matlov, said that despite the fact that local officials denounce anti-Semitic attacks, the incidents continue. "What happened at the school is very unfortunate. My son attends a Jewish preschool and it's very worrying. This only validates the Jewish Agency's efforts to encourage people to immigrate to Israel," she said.


פרסום ראשון: 11.01.07, 01:22
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