Worshippers of the Yad Shavtai synagogue in Ashdod were horrified to discover soot and three chairs that were damaged from fire as they arrived at the shul to pray Monday morning.
Police alerted to the scene found evidence that the site was broken into overnight, and one of the corners of the synagogue was torched. According to the police, the fire was immediately extinguished and did not spread in the building.
It should be noted that on Second Passover worshippers tend to remain in synagogue deep into the night, and it is therefore believed that the break-in occurred in the early hours of the morning. Police suspect the incident was a case of pure vandalism by youths, and have launched an investigation.
The worshippers on Monday did not give up on their holiday prayers, and held the service with the smell of smoke and soot in the air.
Also in Ashdod, two 15-year-old boys were arrested on suspicion of breaking into five taxis and a lottery booth. The suspects confessed, and will be arraigned later Monday.
Meanwhile, in the North, Afula police detained five suspects, including a 13-year-old boy, believed to have taken part in a mass brawl between relatives in the nearby village of Nein. One woman was lightly injured in the fight, which broke out over an old dispute, and was evacuated to hospital. The suspects will be arraigned later Monday.
Sharon Roffe – Ofir contributed to this report