Police believe haredi extremists covered monuments at the Yad Vashem Holocaust
Memorial and Museum in Jerusalem with hateful anti-Zionist slogans early on
One spray-painted slogan said, “If Hitler hadn’t existed,
the Zionists would have invented him.”
“Thanks Hitler for the wonderful
Holocaust you organized for us! Only because of you we received a state,” read
another, while a third slogan was, “Jews, wake up, the evil regime does not
protect us, it only endangers us.”
Ten graffiti slogans were
spray-painted in large black letters concentrated in the Warsaw Ghetto Square
and the Deportees Memorial next to the cattle car.
One of the graffiti
slogans was signed “World Haredi Jewry.” That, as well as the content of the
graffiti, led police to believe that the vandalism was carried out by extremist
anti-Zionist factions within the haredi community, said Jerusalem police
spokesman Shmuel Ben- Ruby.
Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said the
graffiti “crossed a red line,” and that it was the worst thing he had seen in
“Throughout all of Jewish society and Israeli society [Yad
Vashem is] a symbol of unity, of tolerance, of values and openness, of discourse
and dialogue among all types of ideas,” said Shalev. He added that the museum
had not experienced any type of vandalism in recent years, and certainly nothing
on this scale.
The main plaza of the museum, the Warsaw Ghetto courtyard,
was covered with slogans that stretched more than twometers tall and five-meters
wide, encompassing entire walls surrounding the memorial statue in the front of
the square. The vandals most likely entered the museum grounds from the
Jerusalem forest, which surrounds the building.
Shalev said that although
the museum retains a private security force, the 200-dunam (20- hectare) campus
is so large that anyone who truly wanted to vandalize the museum would find a
way to slip into the area.
Footage from the museum’s security cameras was
immediately given to the police.
Shalev also said that the Hebrew
graffiti appeared to be from at least two people because the handwriting was
Jerusalem Police chief Cmdr. Nisso Shaham called the incident
“shocking” and said, “We must investigate and deal quickly with these despicable
acts... in which one of Israel’s important symbols was
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said that the vandals
desecrated the museum with the “intention of offending public
The museum was not closed to visitors except for the
vandalized area, and around 3,000 people were expected to visit on
Staff from Yad Vashem milled around the courtyard.
difficult to stand here,” said one worker, as she looked at the
graffiti.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this article.