Swastikas were painted early in the morning Saturday on two synagogues in Bnei Brak, and photos of Shira Banki, a young woman who was murdered in the 2015 gay pride parade in Jerusalem, were scattered at the entrance to the synagogues. The worshipers of the Young Israel congregation and another synagogue came to the Shabbat morning prayer and were exposed to the shocking sights. Police launched an investigation, but no suspects have been identified yet.
The police statement issued a statement Saturday night, saying: “The police began an investigation this evening, upon receiving a complaint on Saturday night regarding spray-painted swastikas on the walls of two synagogues in the city of Bnei Brak. Police investigators are collecting findings at the scene, forensic and documentary, as part of an investigation that was launched to examine the circumstances and expose the perpetrators of the crime.”
Rabbi Chaim Asher Landau of Young Israel issued a statement saying, “A sense of astonishment and shock surrounds the worshipers of the Young Israel synagogue, which was founded by many Holocaust survivors with numbers tattooed on their arm. Our synagogue engraved on its banner the unity of Israel and bringing hearts together, and is the main synagogue in the neighborhood where residents of all denominations and circles pray.”
Otzma Yehudit Chairman MK Itamar Ben Gvir responded: “Horrible. Only when it comes to boys painting on mosque walls, the country turns tumultuous. When the holy places of the Jewish people are desecrated, I wonder where the prime minister has gone, where the president has gone, where the minister of religious services is hiding, and where the knights of the rule of law from the left have disappeared. I demand the establishment of a special investigation team to investigate the matter, at least as was done after price tag events.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement: “The desecration of the synagogue in Bnei Brak is a serious act of hatred and incitement. Contempt for sacred things in Israel, including the criminal use of the image of the late Shira Banki of blessed memory who was murdered, is an act of disdain and malice. We will not ignore it. The police will bring the criminals to justice, and we will come to terms with them. Before the month of Elul, the people of Israel must unite and show love for one another.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) called on the police “to investigate quickly. All the weight of the law should be leveled against whoever committed this horrific act.”
MK Gilad Kariv (Labor), who leads the Israeli Reform Judaism movement, also responded: “The swastikas painted on the walls of a synagogue in Bnei Brak are a despicable, dangerous and disgusting act. Throwing the photos of the late Shira Banki in the place only adds to the ugliness of the act and defiles her memory.”
MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) accused Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman of incitement that had led to the despicable act: “These sights that came to the door of the city of Bnei Brak are a clear result of Liberman’s incitement that’s lasting for many months in an attempt to bring about division and polarization in the nation.”