Police arrest 4 over Yad Vashem hate graffiti

The 4 are also suspected of vandalizing Ammunition Hill and landmarks in the Jordan Valley around Remembrance Day.

Yad Vashem anti-Zionist graffiti 370 (photo credit: Hadas Parush)
Yad Vashem anti-Zionist graffiti 370
(photo credit: Hadas Parush)
Four haredi suspects from Jerusalem, Ashdod and Bnei Brak are under arrest on suspicion of spray painting anti- Zionist hate slogans on the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum on June 11, police announced Tuesday morning.
The arrests were carried out by the elite central unit of the Judea and Samaria district, following an undercover investigation which focused on the handwriting in the messages to track down suspects.
Police searched the homes of the suspects, who are members of Natorei Karta and seized large amounts of texts condemning Zionism and Israel; PLO flags; and paint. Texts suspected to be incitement to hatred were also found on computers.
Police accused the suspects of painting the graffiti at Yad Vashem, which shocked the country and deeply upset Holocaust survivors, as well as being responsible for graffiti at Ammunition Hill on Remembrance Day and vandalizing army memorials throughout the Jordan Valley. On one of the memorials they wrote “Shimon Peres is Amalek,” a biblical reference to the enemies of the Jewish people.
Three of the suspects were remanded on Tuesday in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, and the fourth was arrested early on Tuesday. Two of the suspects from Bnei Brak and Jerusalem will remain in detention while the 26-yearold suspect from Ashdod will be released to house arrest tomorrow.
Lawyers for the suspects insisted that they had nothing to do with the events, and the only thing they were guilty of is sending anti-Zionist text messages. At least one of the suspects is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that all of the suspects were members of Natorei Karta.
Natorei Karta is a small but vocal, extreme anti-Zionist sect, which believes that the founding of the State of Israel, without specific divine intervention, was a sin.
One spray-painted slogan said, “If Hitler hadn’t existed, the Zionists would have invented him.”
“Thanks Hitler for the wonderful Holocaust you organized for us! Only because of you we received a state,” read another, while a third slogan was, “Jews, wake up, the evil regime does not protect us, it only endangers us.”
One of the graffiti slogans was signed “World haredi Jewry.” That, as well as the content of the graffiti, led police to believe that the vandalism was carried out by extremist anti- Zionist factions within the haredi community, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben- Ruby said at the time of the attack.
“I believe that it was important to know the identities of those who spray-painted the graffiti,” said Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev. “The suspects are extremist ultra- Orthodox Jews, anti-Zionists, who are on the fringes of society and do not represent the majority who respect the memory of the Holocaust.”
Shalev said the vandalism attack two weeks ago was the largest the museum has ever experienced, and that it was the worst thing he had seen in his career.
“Throughout all of Jewish society and Israeli society [Yad Vashem is] a symbol of unity, of tolerance, of values and openness, of discourse and dialogue among all types of ideas,” said Shalev on the day of the attack.