One of shuls after fire
Photo: Lahav Assaf Avres

Pyromaniac in Jerusalem? 3 synagogues torched in a week

Firefighters say flammable material found at scene of two blazes. Some ultra-Orthodox say fires may be linked to power struggles between hasidic sects, but prominent rabbi says 'Jew would never cross that red line'

Three synagogues in Jerusalem were set on fire over the course of a week, prompting fears that a pyromaniac may be operating the capital.


Police are working with Fire and Rescue Service officials in order to track down the arsonist or arsonists.


The latest fire took place on Sunday. At around 2 am firefighters were called to the "Torat Moshe" synagogue on Shmuel Hanavi Street. The fire was extinguished, and members of the congregation said there was no doubt it was deliberate.


Damage at synagogue on Panim Meirot Street (Photo: Lahav Assaf Avres) 


A deputy commander of a local fire station told Ynet that evidence gathered at the scene of a fire which broke out a day earlier at the "Mosdot Hatam Sofer" synagogue on Panim Meirot Street indicated that it was also the work of an arsonist.


He said that in both cases flammable material was found at the scene.


Last week, three Torah books were burned in a fire that erupted in the "Or Chaim" synagogue, located in the city's Buchari neighborhood. An initial investigation found that the fire was the result of a short circuit, but now members of the congregation are asking that police reassess the case.


Some ultra-Orthodox residents of Jerusalem believe the fires are linked to the power struggles between the various hasidic sects in the city, but a prominent rabbi said torching synagogues "is a red line that no Jew would cross."


"This is obviously the work of a mentally-ill individual," said the rabbi, "That's the only explanation." 


פרסום ראשון: 05.03.10, 23:44
 new comment
This will delete your current comment