Congregants at the Achvat Re'im Synagogue in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ra'anana were shocked to discover what they said could only be classified as a hate crime – the scrawling -in blood – of swastikas and crosses on mezuzahs, the parchment scroll that is displayed at the entrance of Jewish homes and institutions.
Congregants discovered the vandalism Tuesday morning, and called police, who quickly rounded up three suspects – who admitted that they had done the dastardly deed. When asked why, the local youths – residents of Ra'anana themselves – said they had been “bored.”
The vandals ripped the mezuzahs off the wall and out of their cases, tore them in half, and bled themselves onto the scrolls, shaping the form of swastikas and crosses. They then pasted them back onto the synagogue's entryway. They also apparently tore mezuzahs down from the doorway of homes in the area, although these were not defaced with blood.
Speaking to the Kikar Shabbat news site, the caretaker of the synagogue, Shlomi Cohen, said that the “situation is frightening. This is a terrible incident, even beyond the crime itself. I don't know what the intentions of the culprits were, or what they were thinking when they were doing it. I can't imagine such a thing. It has made all of us ill."
Cohen praised police for their quick action in the case. “They found the culprits very quickly,” he said. “I really hope that they will come to realize the horrific enormity of what they have done.”
Because of their age, the teen culprits' names have not been revealed.