Haifa police rule out nationalism as motive in synagogue arson attacks

Hebron police investigate alleged destruction of Jewish prayer books in Cave of the Patriarchs.

fire (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Police in Haifa have ruled out a nationalistic motive in two arson attacks on synagogues in the city's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood in recent days. Worshipers discovered burned-out curtains and benches at the Neve Zion synagogue on Sunday, although the building itself escaped major damage. An examination by Haifa firefighters concluded arson was to blame for the blaze. Last week the Heichal Shimshon synagogue, a pre-state building founded by Holocaust survivors, was set on fire. The ensuing blaze damaged the Holy Ark and prayer books. Firefighters had quickly concluded that fire too had been deliberately set. "We think there is a link between these two incidents," Asst.-Cmdr. Ahuva Tomer, Commander of Haifa Police, told The Jerusalem Post. "We do not think nationalistic motives are behind this," she added. "If I said anything more, I would be subverting the investigation," Tomer said. Meanwhile, Hebron police were investigating claims made by Jewish residents that Palestinians had destroyed two Jewish prayer books in the Cave of the Patriarchs. Access to the cave during the day had been restricted to Muslims only, due to Prophet Muhammad's Day. Judea and Samaria Police Spokesman Ch.-Supt. Danny Poleg said no official complaint had been received yet, but that police had launched an investigation based on reports of the claims made by Hebron residents. "There's a good chance we will have an official complaint after Purim," Poleg added.