Photo Credit: Google map
Vandalized synagogue in Bonneuil-sur-Marne, southeastern Paris.

The electronic lock to a synagogue south east of Paris was coated with poison which led to 14 Jews being sickened.

The incident took place on Monday evening, Dec.14, in the community of Bonneuil-sur-Marne.


Women arrived at the closed shul at around 9:00 p.m. to participate in a meeting. Ralph Botbol, president of the synagogue, said that just after arrival, two women began experiencing itchy hands, and one woman’s face “swelled significantly.”

Several more congregants began experiencing intense burning sensations in their eyes and itchy rashes on their skin, at which time emergency services were called.

More than a dozen fire fighters responded to the call and treated those affected. It was then that the problem was traced to the poison discovered on the lock.

They learned that the digital lock had been sprayed with the poison, and every woman who had come in contact with the lock experienced the burning sensations.

Although the shul is typically under police and military protection when open, the violent act of vandalism is believed to have taken place when the building was closed and no guards present. The vandals presumably knew when they could strike.

Initial analyses conducted on Tuesday disclosed that the poison used was “tear gas, very diluted with water.”

The president of the synagogue filed a complaint for this “anti-Semitic act.” He said: “We will not close our eyes, we checked, it is the only street to have been sprayed.”

The Creteil prosecutor on Tuesday opened an investigation for “aggravated violence,” which was handed over to the local police station.

The original version of this story indicated that Bonneuil-sur-Marne is in southeastern Paris. It is, instead, south east of Paris.


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: [email protected]