A Hanukkah miracle: Stolen ancient Torah scrolls recovered

The recovered scrolls will soon be returned to the synagogue.

  The recovered Torah scrolls in Rishon Lezion. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The recovered Torah scrolls in Rishon Lezion.
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Three ancient Torah scrolls were recovered, after being stolen last month from a synagogue in Rishon Lezion, Israel Police announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The scrolls were found in the possession of two suspects, brothers in their 30s who are residents of Rishon Lezion and were arrested.

The police will ask the court to prolong the suspects' detention.

The Torah scrolls were stolen from the Beit Eliyahu Tunisian Synagogue in Rishon Lezion, after the suspects broke into the synagogue after the Friday evening prayer.

Worshippers who came to the synagogue for the Saturday morning prayers found its interior in ruin, with prayer books torn apart and damage to the prayer rooms themselves.

 The recovered Torah scrolls in Rishon Lezion. (credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) The recovered Torah scrolls in Rishon Lezion. (credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Ancient scrolls

The scrolls were brought to Israel from Djerba, Tunisia, are 180, 150 and 79 years old respectively and possess great sentimental and monetary value. 

After the theft, Rishon Lezion police station began an accelerated investigation during which they used the most advanced technological and forensic means at their disposal, which led directly to the identification and arrest of the suspects and the recovery of the scrolls.

Torah scrolls are a frequent target for thieves, because they can have great historical and monetary value and often synagogues aren't secured thoroughly.