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August 1, 2021 4:48 pm
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Synagogues Defaced With Swastikas in Israeli Town of Bnei Brak, Suspect Caught on Camera

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A security camera image of the suspect in the desecration of two synagogues in the Israeli town of Bnei Brak. Photo: screenshot

In an extremely rare occurrence, a synagogue in the Israeli town of Bnei Brak was vandalized with swastikas over the weekend.

According to Hebrew news outlet N12, the vandalism took place the night of Friday-Saturday, with the vandal scrawling swastikas on two synagogues in the heavily Orthodox suburb of Tel Aviv.

In addition to the swastikas, pictures of Shira Banki, a young Israeli who was murdered by a religious extremist at the Jerusalem Pride Parade in 2015, were strewn across the floors of the synagogues.

On Sunday, a security camera image was released showing the suspect entering one of the synagogues, staying there for some time, and then emerging to make his escape. He appeared to be dressed as an Orthodox Jew.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that the vandalism was a “serious act of hate and incitement” and “despicable and evil.”

“We won’t pass over this in silence,” he said, pledging that the police would capture the suspect.

Shira Banki’s father Uri denounced the vandalism as well, saying anyone exploiting his daughter’s memory to deface synagogues are “criminals that don’t understand why Shira went to the parade” where she was killed.

He also urged Israel’s leaders to “pour cold water” on the sectarian anger in Israeli society, because Israel “is a very diverse society and has a lot of rifts” within it.

“Whoever tries to build on these rifts, in the end it turns around and bites him,” Banki asserted.

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