An unidentified group broke into the Great Synagogue on Chovevei Zion Street in Petach Tikva on Monday night, throwing holy books and prayer shawls on to the floor.
The Great Synagogue was hit by vandalism last year when swastikas and satanic cult symbols were found in graffittied on the walls. The police launched an investigation into the affair.
The suspects most likely got into the synagogue through one of the windows. Congregants arriving for Morning Prayer services were shocked to find that the group had taken the books off of the shelves and threw them on the floor. They also attempted to break into the area where the synagogue's Torah books were kept, but luckily, they couldn't get it to open as it was locked within a safe.
Some of the congregants couldn't hold back their tears as they took in the appalling sights. One congregation member, a holocaust survivor, said that he "couldn't believe this was happening here" and requested to make sure that it was still possible to pray at the scene.
"We are shocked. This is the city's main synagogue. Whoever did this wishes to hurt the symbols of the Jewish people", shocked Petah Tikva Council Member Uriel Busso noted. "Religious and secular people live here in peace, with understanding and mutual respect. This is a slap in the face to the congregation and the religious population."
Busso mentioned that he intends to appeal to Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and request that he increase security in the vicinity of the synagogue which has already experienced serious cases of vandalism in the past. "We intend to hold a meeting with the Petah Tikva police station chief and ask that he increase police patrols in the area. I myself will give the order to the local city inspectors to increase patrols as we are deeply concerned with what has happened here."
Just last month, a drunk young man, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, went into the synagogue during morning prayer services poured water on the congregants and threatened to kill them. He was since arrested and has been indicted.
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