Anti-Semitic attacks hit Argentina and Russia

In Argentina, vandals destroyed nearly 60 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Buenos Aires.

vandalized Jewish gravestone 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
vandalized Jewish gravestone 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Anti-Semitic attacks on Saturday once again preceded Rosh Hashana for two communities on opposite sides of the globe. A gang of skinheads was arrested in Russia on Sunday following a double arson attack on a synagogue and a police investigator's house. The four were arrested on suspicion of having thrown Molotov cocktails at their targets in the Russian far east city of Khabarovsk, AFP reported Monday. According to the local branch of the Russian Interior Ministry, the extremist group launched the double attack overnight Saturday. "The nationalists were divided into two groups: One threw Molotov cocktails at the windows of a synagogue, the other at the house of a policeman," the ministry said. "In the synagogue, the youths targeted a room specially equipped for children," added the ministry spokesman. The other target in the city was the home of a local policeman who investigates cases involving extremist violence such as Saturday's attack. The gang specifically threw incendiary bombs at the room where they thought the man's children slept, investigators said. The Interior Ministry added that it believed the attacks were intentionally timed to coincide with Rosh Hashana. The four suspects, ranging in age from 15 to 23, could face up to five years in prison for arson. They could also be tried for attempted murder of a police officer. In Argentina, vandals destroyed nearly 60 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Buenos Aires, the secretary-general of the Jewish Community in Argentina said Sunday. Julio Schlusser added that the incident had taken place sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday, but that the damage had only been discovered on Sunday. Jewish law prohibits visiting cemeteries on Shabbat, and the cemetery in La Tablada area of Buenos Aires was closed to visitors during the presumed time of the attack. The cemetery includes the graves of some of the victims of the 1994 terror attack on a Jewish community center in the Argentinian capital. The community spokesman said 58 graves had been vandalized, including those of eight victims of the terror attack, which claimed the lives of 86 people, most of them Jews. "We are shocked that four days before Rosh Hashana, such an act of vandalism took place in a holy cemetery like La Tablada," said Shlusser, adding that the anonymous vandals had defaced every significant dedication object or marker, including photographs of the eight victims. Maria Jose Lubertino, head of Argentina's National Institute Against Discrimination, called the incident an "anti-Semitic act," calling on authorities to "intervene at the level of the district court and prosecution."