Incoming Jewish Agency Chairman Yitzhak Herzog thanked US Vice President Mike Pence for his support of the Jewish community in his home state of Indiana following an antisemitic incident Saturday in which property of the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel, Indiana north of Indianapolis was graffitied with Nazi flags and Iron crosses.
“Sickened and appalled by the cowardly act of vandalism at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla; a beautiful synagogue in Carmel, Indiana where I have many good friends. Those responsible must be held accountable. These vile acts of antisemitism must end,” wrote Pence on Twitter.
Herzog said on Monday, “Thank you Vice-President Mike Pence for the firm response against this very severe incident of antisemitism in Indiana. We must fight antisemitism wherever it is found. The Jewish Agency will continue to lead this important struggle against antisemitism, hatred of the other and hatred of Israel.”
Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett also expressed support for the Jewish community in Indiana in a letter sent Monday to the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis.
“I was sickened and shocked to hear of the abhorrent graffiti attack on your community at the Shaarey Tefila Temple,” wrote Bennett. Shaarey Tefilla is a Conservative synagogue and describes itself as such, not as a temple.
“As noted in the Nation-State Law passed by the Knesset in recent weeks, Israel is dedicated and committed to working to ensure the well-being of Jewish communities around the world, an expression of our deep bond and shared fate,” continued the minister, saying that the incident was a reminder for Israel and the Diaspora to remain united in the face of renewed antisemitism.
A copy of the letter was cc’d to Jerry Silverman, the president of the Jewish Federations of North America, and Richard Sandler, the chair of its Board of Trustees.
The incident took place in the early hours of Saturday morning, in which two Nazi flags were spray painted on a brick shed housing the synagogue’s garbage container behind the synagogue itself, with the Nazi flag with its black swastika and red background graphically depicted on the back wall of the structure flanked by the two Iron Crosses, and another Nazi flag graffitied on the side wall.
The attack was condemned by Pence – a native of Indiana and a former governor of the state, Indiana’s two serving senators, the congresswoman representing the district where the synagogue is located, and the mayor of Carmel.
In February, the Anti-Defamation League’s annual audit of antisemitism for 2017 showed that the number of antisemitic incidents for that year was nearly 60 percent higher than 2016 numbers.
Earlier this month, the ADL reported that
incidents of racism, antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred by white supremacist groups on US college campuses increased by a dramatic 77 percent in 2017 / 2018 compared to the previous academic year.
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