(photo credit: )
Unknown assailants torched a building housing a Conservative synagogue in Arad on Monday night, a year after a failed attempt to burn the shul.
No one was hurt in the fire, which scorched the outside of the building but was extinguished before it damaged the synagogue within.
The torching follows an attempted break-in at the synagogue last week, when unknown assailants managed to drill a hole in the wall before fleeing. On Monday night, someone returned to the scene and poured flammable liquids in the hole before starting the blaze.
The Shira Hadasha synagogue is one of 60 Conservative shuls in Israel, and the only non-Orthodox synagogue in Arad.
Yitzhar Hess, general manager of the Conservative Movement in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post
Tuesday the community in Arad has suffered acts of vandalism and harassment in the past, but that over the past few years things have been calmer, with the exception of the failed arson attempt a year ago.
Hess described the conservative community in Arad as comprising dozens of families and said it has been part of the Negev city for over 20 years. Hess said that overall it has very warm relations with the city’s residents and take a large role as a community in municipal functions.
Hess, called it “a miracle” that there wasn’t more damage and no one was hurt, and added “the Conservative Movement won’t give in to violence.”
The Negev Police spokesperson said there’s no focus on a specific suspect and that no arrests have been made so far.
The spokesman added that police “don’t know and aren’t interested in what type of synagogue it was.”
“A synagogue was burned, and police are taking the incident very seriously,” the spokesman said.