Synagogues Targeted in Spreading Religious War

Monday, August 27, 2001 | Tag Cloud Tags:

At the time of the most sacred biblical holidays, spanning Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), synagogues in Israel and across the world have been targeted by Jewish adversaries incensed by recent events in the Mideast.

Israeli security forces believe that Arab residents and PA military forces have damaged the ancient Shalom al-Israel synagogue in Jericho, according to information received by the IDF in recent days. This follows the burning of Joseph's Tomb on Saturday. The IDF believes that the PA is making urgent efforts to repair the building before the matter is publicized in the media.

The religious importance of the site and access to the synagogue for Jews are guaranteed by the Oslo agreements. Unlike the case of Joseph's Tomb, Israel does not maintain a force to protect the site and has not received permission from the PA to inspect the site. Members of the press have also been barred from visiting the area.

Despite the agreement, Israeli footage from observation points around Nablus clearly showed that during the attack on Joseph's Tomb on Saturday, PA police officers made no efforts to prevent the rioters from damaging the site. IDF sources said today that Palestinians have begun constructing a mosque at Joseph's Tomb, where the yeshiva stood.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, reportedly issued orders for the repair work to demonstrate PA "respect" for holy sites. A Nablus city engineer said the restoration work was being done to return the tomb to its condition before the 1967 Israeli entry into the city.

Rioting Arabs on Yom Kippur (Monday) once again attempted to destroy the Tomb of Joshua Ben Nun, located in Kifl Harith, near the Samarian city of Ariel. IDF forces responded and were successful in repelling the attack before the area was damaged. The tomb is in area B, under Israeli security and PA civil control.

The Israeli mayor of Shfaram this morning apologized for the damage caused to that town's ancient synagogue in rioting by Arab residents. Work has already begun to restore the building, which the mayor said would be open for Succot.

In France, three synagogues were attacked and "death to the Jews" was shouted at pro-Arab rallies, police and Jewish leaders said today. Firebombs were thrown at two Paris synagogues and one in Lyon over Yom Kippur, causing some damage to the outside of the buildings but no harm to anyone, they said. Behind Israel and the United States, France is home to the third largest Jewish community in the world.

Several Torah scrolls were burned in Tashkent late Monday after vandals set fire to one of Uzbekistan's eight synagogues, causing severe damage, ISRAEL RADIO reported. The incident has caused grave concern among the Jewish community, and a government commission has been set up to investigate. Russia's chief rabbi is on his way there to help the community cope.

These attacks came on the heels of two attacks on synagogues in Germany last week.

Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

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