JERUSALEM (JTA) – Some 14 Orthodox rabbis and public figures from the central Israel city of Ra’anana signed a letter condemning an attack on a Reform synagogue in the city.
Signers of the letter released Sunday include Ra’anana Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz.
The World Union for Progressive Judaism also condemned the April 14 attack, the third time the Raanan Synagogue has been vandalized in the last year.
Six of the synagogue’s windows were smashed in by large rocks and a black Star of David was spray-painted on the wall above the words "It has begun."
City officials and the Reform umbrella group both indicated that the vandalism pointed to Jewish religious extremists, though police said they had no suspects.
In a statement released April 15, the World Union said that it "condemns all violence that is motivated by hatred and religious extremism. As we approach the season of Jewish freedom, we call on all government and NGO agencies to show their abhorrence of these wanton senseless acts, we are confident that government leaders will take the lead in this condemnation and we call on Orthodox leaders throughout Israel to also show their disgust at this destructive inter-Jewish hatred."
Ra’anana Mayor Nahum Hofree condemned what he called the "bullying," saying the attack "does not characterize Ra’anana’s people. This is a city of tolerance and exemplary coexistence."
In another incident of violence against a non-Orthodox synagogue, youths threw rocks at worshippers leaving a Masorti synagogue in Netanya on Sabbath eve April 15. The youths appeared to be Orthodox, eyewitnesses said, according to the Jerusalem Post. The youths reportedly tried to enter the building but stopped when they saw security cameras. The building has been attacked twice in the past.
No worshippers were injured in the attack. A complaint was filed with police.
“As the non-Orthodox communities continue to grow, the ugly face of Jewish fundamentalism in Israel is revealed. Some people just can’t deal with the fact that there is a different Judaism. These people are hateful Jews who know nothing about Rabbi Akiva’s principle of loving your neighbor as you love yourself,” Yizhar Hess, executive director and CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel, told the Post.