Photo Credit: courtesy, Judea and Samaria Regional Fire & Rescue Service
Torched interior of synagogue at Mitzpe Ziv near Ma'ale Hever in South Hebron Hills

A synagogue in Mitzpe Ziv, located near the Jewish community of Ma’ale Hever in the South Hebron Hills was torched over the Sabbath, according to the Israel Fire and Rescue Service.

The Mitzpe Ziv observation point and memorial was built in memory of Israeli security guards Yehuda Ben Yosef and Yoav Doron, who were both killed in 2003 after they were mistaken for terrorists.

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Firefighters from the Judea Regional Station who responded to reports of arson arrived to find the building’s “entire contents going up in flames,” according to firefighting team commander Avi Desta.

Torched exterior of synagogue at Mitzpe Ziv, near Ma’ale Hever in South Hebron Hills

“We found many tires at the site that were apparently thrown inside to provide fuel for the fire,” Desta said. He added that the holy books and furniture inside the synagogue were damaged by the fire, “including the Holy Ark. Thankfully, there were no Torah scrolls inside,” he added.

This is not the first time the synagogue has been attacked. Firefighters from the Judea Regional Service station “also in the past” fought flames at the site which subsequently were determined to have been caused by arson.

The small, beautiful stone synagogue is situated in the hills near Ma’ale Hever, located close to Hebron and the sprawling Palestinian Authority “village” of Yatta, which has grown exponentially over the past two decades.

The incident is under forensic investigation by firefighters and Israel Police.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.