Two synagogues were set on fire 15 minutes apart around 4 AM Monday. The first report was of a fire that broke out in the women’s section of the women in a synagogue in Ramat Gan, which according to preliminary findings was an arson. It was a large fire and the synagogue was badly damaged, Chadrei Charedim reported (הפרוכת בערה: ארון הקודש בביה”כ הוצת).
Then, 15 minutes later, firefighters were called to the Maor Israel synagogue on HaChalutzim Street in Bnei Brak, with a report of another fire. The Ark inside the synagogue had been set on fire, but the Torah scrolls were saved. The firefighters who arrived at the synagogue confirmed that no one was trapped in the building. The fire had been extinguished a few minutes before the firefighters arrived.
כך נראה הבוקר ארון הקודש בבית הכנסת ‘מאור ישראל’ בבני ברק. המתפללים שהגיעו לתפילת שחרית בטוחים שמדובר בהצתה: “מקווים שיגיעו במהירות למצית” pic.twitter.com/KCzErYg0q5
— אבי גדלוביץ’ (@avigad27)
Fire and Rescue issued a statement saying, “Firefighters were called to a fire at a synagogue on HaChalutzim Street last night, where the curtain of the ark had been burned. The fire was extinguished by itself even before the forces arrived at the location. The firefighters checked the building and ventilated it to remove the heavy accumulated smoke.”
Police and the Fire dept. launched an investigation into the arson.
זירת האירוע בני ברק.
צילום: קבוצת בט”ש וחירום pic.twitter.com/EfXQuzFILH
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Shas Chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said following the incident: “I am shocked and hurt by the horrific hate crime tonight when the ark and a synagogue were set on fire in Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan. Unfortunately, the recent severe incitements are seeping deep. I call on the Israel Police to locate the criminals and bring them to justice.”
Minister of Construction and Housing MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) said: “A difficult and terrible morning in which two synagogues in Israel were set on fire by lowly hands who committed a hate crime in Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan. The severe incitement against the tradition of Israel and the Haredi public is dangerous and crosses all red lines. The police must act resolutely to locate the attackers and bring them to justice immediately.”
Last Shabbat, the seventh day of Passover, worshipers at Ohel Avraham Synagogue on Rabbi Kook Street in Bnei Brak were shocked when they arrived for the morning prayer and discovered slices of bread that had been thrown at the two entrances to the synagogue.