Israeli PM slams swastikas daubed on synagogues

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday denounced the painting of swastikas on a synagogue near Tel Aviv, calling it a “grave act of hatred”.

Police said they had opened an investigation into the “suspected spraying of swastikas on the walls of two synagogues in the city of Bnei Brak” on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

“The vandalism at a synagogue in Bnei Brak is a very grave act of hatred and incitement,” Bennett said. 

“The police will deal with the criminals to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

Rabbi Asher Landau of the Young Israel synagogue told AFP that members of the congregation found swastikas sprayed on two doors of the place of worship on Saturday morning.

Condoms, he said, were fitted on the handles of the doors.

“It’s a terrible feeling. A feeling of grief,” Landau said.

Landau said that many members of the congregation, including himself, are Holocaust survivors or their descendents.

He said photos of Shira Banki, a teenage girl murdered in 2015 by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish assailant during a Jerusalem Pride parade, were scattered on the ground. 

Swastikas and pictures of Banki were also found at another synagogue in the neighbourhood, he added.

Bnei Brak is home to a large ultra-Orthodox  community.

Lawmaker Israel Eichler of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party said the defacement was a result of “incitement” against the community, according to the Kikar Hashabbat religious Jewish news site.