A man wearing a Meretz shirt desecrated tefillin at a Chabad stand in Netanya on Tuesday by holding them near his crotch, a video uploaded to social media showed.
The Meretz party says that the man is unknown to them and he could be an imposter.
Reactions by political officials
A number of religious politicians expressed their outrage.
"I am shocked to the depths of my soul, with tears on my face," Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich said. "I am crying over this, the persecution and hatred of Judaism that this hateful government brought with it."
Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir said that he was "deeply shocked and pained for what happened in Netanya."
מזעזע! פעיל של מפלגת מרצ ניגש לדוכן של חב"ד בנתניה ומבזה את התפילין הקדושות בצורה מחרידה. כמה שנאה!!! pic.twitter.com/av7HQWgTLg— אריאל אלחרר (@ariel_elharar_) November 1, 2022
"A disgrace has been done in Israel! A jew desecrating tefilin in the holy land! Our answer will be a huge protest at the election booth," Shas leader Arye Deri said.
"I am shocked to the bottom of my soul ... this is the direct outcome of the wild incitement from the Left led by [Finance Minister Avigdor] Yvette LIberman against the Haredi public," United Torah Judaism head Yizhak Goldknopf said.
Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I strongly condemn this shocking attack this morning by a left-wing activist. It's time to tell them enough and vote today."
Meretz appealed to the election committee demanding that they use its full capabilities to investigate the incident. The man is not known to any of the Meretz officials and is an impostor trying the harm the party.
"Make it be known without a doubt, I condemn this aberrant behavior and it opposes our worldview," Meretz party CEO MK Michal Rozin said.