British Jewish cemetery is vandalized


Gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in England were painted with swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti, and some were toppled.

The vandalism in Manchester was discovered Monday; it is believed the attack occurred on Sunday or early Monday. A similar attack occurred earlier this month, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Inspector Mike Reid of the Greater Manchester Police told the newspaper that the incident is being treated as a hate crime and comes with stiffer punishments when the vandals are caught.

“The vandalism of a gravestone is, in itself, a sickening act, but to violate the memory of those resting in the cemetery still further by daubing racial slurs on the graves is truly repulsive,” Reid said.

Extra security patrols have been added in the area, according to police.

More Jewish sites vandalized in Ukraine


A Holocaust memorial and the grave of the brother of the late Lubavitcher rebbe were vandalized in Ukraine, amid a string of anti-Semitic attacks in the country.

The Holocaust Memorial in Sevastopol in the Crimean Peninsula was spray painted in red with a hammer and sickle and the letters USSR, and with what appeared to be other pro-Russian graffiti according to the Sevastopolskaya Gazeta.

The Sevastopol Jewish Welfare Center, Hesed Shahar, reported the vandalism to local police, according to Sevastopolskaya Gazeta.

The memorial was erected in Sevastopol in 2003 at the site where 4,200 Jews were murdered by the Nazis on July 12, 1942.

The monument has been vandalized by neo-Nazis in the past.

Also on Tuesday it was reported that, in Dnepropetrovsk, swastikas were sprayed on the tomb of Dov Ber Schneerson, brother of the late Lubavicher Rebbe, Rabbi Menahem Mendel Schneerson.

Chabad emissary Rabbi Moshe Weber, who works in Dnepropetrovsk, said that the graffiti looked recent, according to Chabad Online.

Since the revolution erupted in November, Ukraine, which has relatively low levels of anti-Semitic violence, has seen several serious attacks including a stabbing and the attempted torching of two synagogues, most recently last week in Nikolayev.

The Ukrainian government and Russian government officials, as well as their supporters in Ukraine, have exchanged allegations of anti-Semitism.

Palestinian vehicles vandalized as Borovsky mourning period ends


Palestinian-owned vehicles were torched and vandalized in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, apparently in recognition of the end of the 30-day mourning period for slain Israeli settler Eviatar Borovsky.

“Regards from Eviatar” and “30 for Eviatar” were spray-painted on walls near about nine torched vehicles in Palestinian villages, and other cars had their tires slashed in attacks that occurred early Wednesday morning.

No one has been arrested for the vandalism, which occurred in two villages in the Jordan Valley, in a village near Ramallah and in Jerusalem.

Wednesday marks the shloshim that began at the burial of Borovsky, 31, a father of five from the Yitzhar settlement who was killed by a Palestinian assailant April 29 while waiting for a bus at the Tapuach Junction.

Other “price tag” attacks occurred in the days following Borovsky’s death.

“Price tag” refers to the strategy that extremist settlers and their supporters have adopted to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or Palestinian attacks on Jews.

Jewish cemetery in Poland is vandalized


Polish police are investigating the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in northeastern Poland.

Monika Krawczyk, the CEO of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, said vandals spray-painted swastikas and anti-Semitic images and slogans on graves, a Holocaust memorial and the entrance to the Jewish cemetery in Wysokie Mazowieckie near Bialystok on Sunday night.

One of the slogans read “Here is Poland—not Israel,” which, according to Krawczyk, is a slogan used by Polish neo-Nazi groups. No Jews live in Wysokie.

The cemetery, which was devastated in World War II, was restored in 2006 and protected by a fence. It is maintained by the foundation.

Krawczyk said there were several anti-Semitic vandal attacks on Jewish sites in northeastern Poland in 2011. But, she said, “We had not seen an anti-Semitic attack on such a scale this year.”

Peace Now’s Jerusalem office is vandalized


The fence outside the Jerusalem offices of Peace Now was spray-painted with threatening graffiti.

The words “No leftists, no terror attacks” were painted Thursday on the fence.

The Jerusalem police have opened an investigation into the incident, according to reports.

In November, vandals targeted the home of Hagit Ofran, the director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project, with graffiti including swastikas and the words “Rabin is waiting for you,” referring to the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that took place in November 1995.

The day before the November attack, the Peace Now offices were evacuated following a bomb threat.

Man opposed to prisoner swap defaces Rabin memorial


A man who lost five family members in a 2001 suicide attack defaced a memorial to assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on Friday in an apparent protest against an impending Palestinian prisoner swap, police said.

Police named the man as Shvuel Schijveschuurder, whose parents and three siblings were killed in the bombing of a Jerusalem pizzeria a decade ago.

Surveillance cameras showed him daubing the Tel Aviv memorial in paint and he was briefly detained by police before being released on bail.

Islamist group Hamas has said two Palestinians who helped carry out the suicide attack were among 1,027 prisoners Israel has agreed to free in return for the release of Gilad Shalit.

“His parents were killed in the bombing and he was apparently protesting against the prisoner exchange,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Images from the scene showed the memorial covered in white paint and sprayed graffiti on a wall calling for Rabin’s killer to be freed and the words “price tag”—a slogan associated with hardline Jewish West Bank settlers.

Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by an ultra-nationalist Jew opposed to a negotiated peace deal with the Palestinians.

Debate has raged in Israel over the release of convicted Palestinian killers in such a large number in exchange for one person. Many of those opposed are relatives of people killed in attacks who say the freed prisoners will return to militancy.

The 2001 pizzeria bombing killed 15 people and came in the early stages of the second Palestinian Intifada. One of those held responsible for the attack was a young woman, Ahlam Tamimi, who drove the suicide bomber to the target.

She is serving a life sentence for her role in the blast and is expected to be sent into exile to Jordan after her release, which is due next Tuesday as part of the Shalit deal.

The prisoner swap, over three years in the making, was finally brokered last week with Egyptian mediation between Israel and the Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Some 450 Palestinian men and 27 women are due to be freed in the first phase of the swap, with Shalit expected to be handed over to Israel simultaneously. A further 550 Palestinians will be released next month.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh described the deal as a “victory for Gaza” in a speech following Friday prayers. He said he expected the deal to be done on Tuesday, which he said would be a “national and historic day of joy.”

Israel is set to publish the official list of prisoners it will free late on Saturday or early on Sunday. It has already said that almost 300 of them are men are serving life terms.

After the list is released on the Israel Prisons Authority web site, there will be a 48-hour period during which the Supreme Court can hear legal objections.

Families of the Israeli victims have said they will protest, but this is not expected to halt the swap, which has broad political and public support in Israel.

Shalit was kidnapped by militants who tunneled into an Israeli army border position next to Gaza in 2006. Israeli forces had withdrawn from Gaza a year earlier, shutting off the coastal enclave behind a heavily guarded security fence.

Shalit was 19 when he was captured and is now 25. The last sign of life received from the soldier was a videotape made by his captors in September 2009 in which he pleaded for his life.

Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Editing by Crispian Balmer and Alistair Lyon

Joseph’s Tomb vandalized with swastikas


Joseph’s Tomb was vandalized with swastikas and other graffiti.

Israeli soldiers discovered the damage early Thursday morning, shortly before more than 1,000 Jewish worshipers came to pray at the tomb located near Nablus in the West Bank. The pilgrimage ahead of Yom Kippur was coordinated in advance with the Israeli army.

The soldiers covered the graffiti with white paint before the arrival of the worshipers, Haaretz reported.

Joseph’s Tomb is a site considered holy to Jews. The biblical patriarch Joseph, as well as his sons Ephraim and Menashe, is believed to be buried there.

The army has coordinated monthly early-morning visits to the tomb for Jewish worshipers since 2009. It has been vandalized several times in the past decade.

The vandalism comes days after a mosque in northern Israel was destroyed in an arson attack, allegedly by extremist Jews.

Memorial to Jedwabne pogrom vandalized in Poland


Vandals have defaced the monument in the eastern Polish town of Jedwabne that commemorates the hundreds of Jews burned alive in a barn there by their Polish neighbors in July 1941.

A decade ago, the publication of Jan T. Gross’s book about the massacre, “Neighbors,” prompted a national debate on Poland’s role in the Holocaust. Photographs in the Polish media Thursday showed anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas scrawled in big green letters on the monument and on the wall surrounding it. One slogan read, “No need to apologize for Jedwabne.”

Media reports said a policeman on patrol discovered the attack Wednesday night.

The monument, which stands on the site of the barn where the Jews were killed, is not lit and stands on its own, away from town buildings.

According to media reports, regional police in Bialystok, who are investigating the incident, are linking this attack to other apparent neo-fascist vandal attacks aimed at minority groups in the past few weeks in eastern and northeast Poland.

These include scrawled anti-Semitic slogans and Nazi symbols found on the former synagogue in the town of Orla on Aug. 10. Vandals also broke into the Islamic Center in Bialystok, trashed the ground floor and attempted to set the building on fire. The next day, bilingual signs in Polish and Lithuanian were found damaged in Punsk, a town near the border with Lithuania.

Jewish graves vandalized at Mount of Olives


More than a dozen graves at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem were vandalized, the latest in a series of attacks on one of Judaism’s oldest cemeteries.

On June 14, some 14 graves were damaged by Arab youths wielding sledgehammers, according to private security guards stationed at the iconic cemetery located in eastern Jerusalem. At least five of the damaged gravesites are those of Americans buried in the cemetery, according to Rabbi Moshe Bezalel Buzokovsky of the Chevra Kadisha.

The recent damage is in addition to vandalism sustained at the cemetery last month on Nakba Day, or Catastrophe Day, when Arabs mark the declaration of the state of Israel. During riots on the Temple Mount, Palestinians hurled large rocks and boulders toward the graves, chipping and breaking at least 15. Arab youths also vandalized or destroyed nearly 40 newly installed surveillance cameras in the cemetery, according to the International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim. Har HaZeitim is the Hebrew name for the Mount of Olives.

At the same time, local Arabs began illegally expanding a mosque to within 15 feet of the grave of Menachem Begin, according to the committee.

In the last year, efforts of the committee have resulted in the restoration of 2,000 of an estimated 40,000 graves that were destroyed prior to 1967 under Jordanian rule, an increased private security presence as well as the installation of 50 surveillance cameras and fluorescent lighting.

There are an estimated 150,000 graves on the Mount, where Jews have been buried since biblical times. Notable individuals buried there include the prophets Zechariah, Malachi and Hagai; famous modern rabbis such as Aryeh Kaplan and Ahron Soloveichik; Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah; Hazzan Yossele Rosenblatt; and British Parliament member Robert Maxwell.

Atlantic City Jewish cemetery vandalized


Some 15 gravestones were toppled in a Jewish cemetery in Atlantic City, N.J.

The attack on the Rodef Sholom Cemetery reportedly took place just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to the Press of Atlantic City. Police believe that more than one vandal was involved because of the heaviness of the gravestones but have no suspects.

The damage to the gravestones is fixable but will be expensive because large cranes are needed to lift the stones, the Press reported. Relatives of the deceased will be notified of the damages.

The cemetery reportedly is often a spot for drinking and drug use.

Cemetery groundskeeper Dennis Kraus told the Press that he didn’t think it was a hate crime against the Jewish people.

“I think it’s a bunch of people who probably got doped up or drunk and figured they could start knocking over stones,” he said. “It’s ridiculous, where people can’t even lay in a cemetery and rest in peace.”

Similar incidents of vandalism have occurred at the cemetery and elsewhere in the area. In 2006, vandals overturned 35 gravestones at the Rodef Sholom Cemetery, and another 20 at a nearby cemetery. The perpretrators, who were intoxicated while committing the crime, received fines and jail time.

Northwestern University Jewish center vandalized


A Chabad House serving Northwestern University in suburban Chicago was vandalized.

Saturday’s attack came a day after President Obama revealed in a televised news conference that two packages containing remote-controlled bombs addressed to Jewish organizations in the Chicago area were intercepted on the way to the United States.

The large menorah in front of the Tannenbaum Chabad House, located a block from the university’s Evanston campus, was vandalized for just the second time since the Jewish center opened more than 20 years ago, the Daily Northwestern reported.

“I’ve been in this community for so long, and we’ve never had vandalism of this nature,” Chabad director Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein told the student newspaper. “I was pretty saddened by it. I felt somewhat violated.”

Evanston police have classified the incident as a hate crime, Klein told the newspaper.

Non-Orthodox Ra’anana synagogues vandalized


Two non-Orthodox synagogues were vandalized in a central Israel city.

The synagogues in Ra’anana were both attacked within a week of each other, according to reports.

On May 20, two windows at the Masorti, or Conservative, synagogue were smashed in by bricks. One of the windows was made of stained glass.  A week earlier, several windows at the Kehilat Ra’anan Shmueli Center, a Progressive, or Reform, synagogue, were also smashed by rocks. .

The windows of the Reform congregation were also broken two months ago, as well as two years ago.

The congregations both filed complaints with the police, who have so far come up with no leads in their investigation.

“The Ra’anana municipality takes a harsh view of any attempt at vandalism of public buildings and other institutions in the city,” the municipality said in a statement.
The city’s mayor has ordered increased security near the synagogues.

Home of Tikkun’s Rabbi Lerner vandalized


The northern California home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the progressive Tikkun magazine, was vandalized.

Posters attached to his door and the fence around his Berkeley home attack Lerner personally, and liberals and progressives, as being supporters of terrorism and “Islamofascism,” according to a news release from the magazine.

The vandalism occurred late Sunday night or early Monday morning, and was discovered Monday morning.

It follows a week in which the magazine and Lerner received hate mail, apparently because Tikkun announced that it will award controversial Judge Richard Goldstone with its prestigious Tikkun Award. Some have pilloried Goldstone, a South African, for his United Nations report that accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the winter 2009 Gaza war.

Lerner also offered to hold the bar mitzvah for Goldstone’s grandson in San Francisco following threats of protests outside the synagogue in South Africa.

It was the first time in 24 years of the magazine’s operation that Lerner’s home was attacked, according to the magazine’s statement.

No one has claimed responsibility, though the statement blamed “right-wing Zionists.”

The case is being investigated as an act of vandalism. It reportedly is not a hate crime, according to police, because Lerner was being attacked for his politics, not his religion.

Ukrainian Jewish cemetery vandalized


A Jewish cemetery in western Ukraine was vandalized.

Anti-Semitic slogans were painted on 26 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery, according to an April 19 report on the Ukrainian Jewish Web site http://jewish.kiev.ua, reported UCSJ: The Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union.

Several thousand Jews are buried in the cemetery, which has not been used since 1940.

No arrests have been made in connection with the incident.

Jewish gravestones vandalized at Argentina cemetery


Some 58 gravestones were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in Argentina’s Buenos Aires province on Friday and Saturday, local news Web site Momento 24 reported.

Eight of the graves were the resting places of victims of the 1994 terrorist attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association Jewish Center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

Read the full story at HAARETZ.com.

Graves defaced in Argentina include terror victims


Graves belonging to AMIA Jewish Center attack victims were among those vandalized in an Argentine Jewish cemetery.

Fifty-eight headstones at the La Tablada Jewish cemetery in Buenos Aires province were defaced between Sept. 11 and 12. Eight belonged to victims of the 1994 center bombing, which killed 85.

“All the investment in security made in the cemetery was not enough?” asked Olga Degtiar, mother of Cristian Degtiar, who was killed in the AMIA bombing.

The president of the National Institute Against Discrimination, Maria Jose Lubertino, said the attack was an “evident anti-Semitic aggression.” Jewish leaders denounced the vandalism.