Yad Vashem Chairman: Act of vandalism 'crossed red line'

Extremists vandalize Jerusalem Holocaust memorial site, spraying words "Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust"; Sa'ar: Vandals desecrated the monument with the intention of offending public sensibilities.

By MELANIE LIDMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF
June 11, 2012 10:27
2 minute read.
Janusz Korczak memorial at Yad Vashem

Janusz Korczak memorial at Yad Vashem. (photo credit: www.goisrael.com)

Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish messages spray-painted at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum crossed a red line, the museum's chairman Avner Shalev said Monday.

There were more than ten graffiti slogans spray-painted in black, concentrated an the Warsaw Ghetto Square and the memorial to the deportees next to the cattle car.

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Slogans read "Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust" and "Jews, wake up, the evil regime does not protect us, it only endangers us."

"There will be an alternative museum to Yad Vashem - the selection," "The Zionist leaders wanted the Holocaust" and "The war of the Zionist regime is not the war of the Jewish people" was also scrawled at the site.

"We know that the Yad Vashem memorial is a link between Israeli society and Judaism," Shalev stated. "All of the messages written here are aimed at disrupting this connection."

Shalev said more than one type of handwriting appeared in the graffiti and expressed the belief that more than one person could have perpetrated the crime. He added that it seemed as though the vandals entered through one of the back entrances to the 45-acre museum, which is located in the midst of the Jerusalem forest. There are many entrances to the museum through hiking trails.

Shalev said that Yad Vashem had transferred the security video from the area to the police. Police opened an investigation into the incident but refused to comment on whether or not there were any breakthroughs.

Jerusalem Police Chief 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 attacked."

Also reacting to the incident, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said that the vandals desecrated the museum with the intention of offending public sensibilities.

Sa'ar said that he was shocked by the act of vandalism and by the content of the the graffiti, adding that he trusted that the Israel Police would know how to track down the criminals and bring them to justice.

Matityahu Droblas, survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, former MK and currently a board member at Yad Vashem also reacted to the incident. "The Warsaw Ghetto is a symbol of the Jewish people," he said. "There are now 200,000 Holocaust survivors left in Israel. This [attack] was not just against survivors, it was against the entire Jewish people and the entire Jewish state."

"I want to believe that it wasn't a Jew," he added.

In a separate incident overnight Sunday, seven cars belonging to Arab residents of the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem were vandalized in an apparent "price tag" attack. The vandals spray-painted "Ulpana" on one of the cars and punctured the tires of seven.


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