Jerusalem Bnei Akiva branch badly vandalized

Police suspect Jewish teens behind attack in which Torah scroll thrown on floor, holy ark destroyed.

anti semitism 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
anti semitism 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
A Jerusalem branch of the Bnei Akiva youth movement was badly vandalized this past week, allegedly by Jewish perpetrators, police said Sunday. The vandals in the attack on the Bnei Akiva chapter in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev hurled a Torah scroll on the ground, destroyed the ark where the Torah scrolls are kept, threw holy books on the ground, and scrawled English- and Russian-language graffiti on the walls of the branch's synagogue, said Nariah Meir, a Bnei Akiva leader in Jerusalem. He added that the windows of the branch were covered in Russian-language newspapers. "This seems to be a 100-percent pure anti-Semitic attack," Meir said. The suspects entered the premises via an open back door, Jerusalem police spokesman Asi Aharoni said Sunday. He added that nothing had been stolen from the site in what police suspect was a criminally-motivated attack. No suspects had been arrested in the attack to date, he said. The branch did not have an alarm system, although workers had just ordered window bars for the site. The vandalism, which was discovered on Tuesday, took place one day early last week, Meir said. It was not immediately clear Sunday why the incident was not publicized by police. The attack came less than two weeks before the Jewish world marks the date of the destruction of the ancient Jewish temples according to the Hebrew calendar. "This is a very serious incident, especially coming just before Tisha Be'Av at a time when we are trying to promote unity," said Bnei Akiva Secretary-General Rabbi Benny Nachtailer. "It appears that the Israeli education system has a lot more work to do," he said. A rally will be held at the site on Tuesday in protest of the vandalism. Bnei Akiva is the largest religious Zionist youth movement in the world today, with over 125,000 members in 37 countries around the world, including 75,000 in Israel.