neo-Nazi ring 224.88.
(photo credit: Israel Police)
Worshipers who arrived at a Petah Tikva synagogue for prayers on Saturday were shocked to discover anti-Semitic messages scrawled in Hebrew on the building's walls, and the defacement of holy texts and graffiti inside.
The words "Long live Hitler the saint" were written on the synagogue's wall, alongside a large black cross. Inside, crosses were drawn on prayer brooks.
The worshipers waited for Shabbat to end before calling the police.
A police source told The Jerusalem Post that the incident has sparked fears of a resurgence of neo-Nazi activity in the city.
In November 2008, eight members of a neo-Nazi gang in Petah Tikva - made up of Russian immigrant youths - were sentenced to varying jail terms for assaults on drug addicts, foreign workers, and Orthodox Jews. The gang's leader received the heaviest sentence - seven years behind bars.
"We are sensitive to this incident because of the history of neo-Nazi activity here, and because a holy place has been desecrated," the police source said. "We are checking to see whether neo-Nazi activity has sprouted up again in this city," he added.
"This is not an easy investigation. There are a number of directions. I very much hope that arrests will be made in the coming days," the source added. "We are determined to put a stop to this," he said.