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ShulVandalismInRaanana311.(Photo by: Masorti Movement of Israel)
Police probe shul vandalism in Ra’anana
By JONAH MANDEL
05/24/2010
Two non-Orthodox synagogues have been vandalized in two weeks, raising fears of a campaign against Masorti, Reform movements in the city.
Are non-Orthodox synagogues in placid Ra’anana being attacked on religious grounds?

Late last Thursday night, an unknown assailant threw bricks at the Masorti (Conservative) congregation’s building on Rehov Borohov and broke two windows, one of them stained glass. Both windows were fixed in time for Shabbat services.

A week before, two windows of the Kehilat Ra’anan Shmueli Center, a Progressive (Reform) synagogue in the city, were shattered by stones thrown by an unknown assailant.

Both congregations filed complaints with the police, which launched an investigation into what a police spokesman defined as a “difficult case,” as there were so far no significant leads.

“The Ra’anana Municipality vehemently condemns any attempt to damage and vandalize public structures and institutions in the city,” the municipality said in a statement on Sunday.

Leaders of the Masorti and Reform movements in Israel condemned the violence and expressed their hope that the police would bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Ra’anana is known to be a tolerant city, and we believe-hope that these are isolated incidents that do not represent a trend,” Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Masorti Movement in Israel, said in a statement.

“That having been said, it is hard to escape the feeling that in recent months extreme elements are seeking to set a new, violent standard for religious harassment in Israel,” Hess continued, noting the recurring attempts to set fire to the Masorti community center in Arad, and the recent attack of a woman in Beersheba by a man of haredi appearance, who noticed imprint marks from tefillin on her arm.

“The sequence of events raises the suspicion that these are deliberate harassments aimed at non-Orthodox synagogues,” Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Movement in Israel, said in a communique. “We all hope that the events are not harbingers of an era of such incidents in Ra’anana.”
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