anti-semitic vandal 224..
(photo credit: Michael Freund)
Unknown vandals defaced a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in central Yerevan last week, scrawling a swastika on the simple stone structure and splattering it with black paint.
Rabbi Gershon Burshtein, a Chabad emissary who serves as Chief Rabbi of the country's tiny Jewish community, expressed shock upon discovering the vandalism while escorting visitors to the site on Wednesday.
After calling the police and local government officials to inform them of the incident, he said, "I just visited the memorial the other day and everything was fine. This is terrible, as there are excellent relations between Jews and Armenians."
A senior adviser to Armenian President Robert Kocharian denounced the defacement as "a provocation", and promised Rabbi Burshtein that it would be taken care of forthwith.
The monument has been defaced and toppled several times in the past few years. It is located in the city's Aragast Park, a few blocks north of the centrally-located Republic Square, which is home to a number of government buildings.
The text inscribed in Hebrew on the stone reads, "To be or to forget: in memory of the victims of the Holocaust".
Armenia's Jewish population is estimated at between 300 and 500 people, most of whom live in the capital of Yerevan.