Hate Graffiti, Death Threats and Knife Found at Reform Synagogue in Israel
JNS.org — A Reform synagogue in the central Israeli city of Ra’anana was found vandalized Thursday with threatening messages to progressive Jewish leaders.
At Kehilat Raanan Reform, a knife and a note with the names of three high-profile liberal figures were discovered. The individuals listed include Anat Hoffman, leader of the Women of the Wall egalitarian prayer rights group and executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center; Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism; and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the congregational arm of the Reform movement in North America.
The building was also graffitied with references to biblical verses that say evil people have no place in the “world to come,” and three envelopes were recovered bearing the words “Maimonides, the Laws of Murder,” Israel Hayom reported.
“It’s hard to grasp how shocking the sight of the graffiti that has marred the building’s facade is. The shock is even worse when you read the quotes on the wall,” said Kariv, who added that the vandalism is not an isolated incident, but a “violent phenomenon that must be handled seriously and thoroughly.”
Kariv called on Orthodox rabbis in Ra’anana to come to the synagogue to send a clear message of protest.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, “I strongly condemn the graffiti discovered this morning at the Reform synagogue in Ra’anana. Such acts have no place in our free society.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the national-religious Jewish Home party, said that despite the spiritual and political differences between Jews around the world, “we cannot allow disputes to deteriorate to abusive discourse and incitement, which could lead to the physical harming of a person because of his opinions and beliefs.”