On Thursday, October 26, Palestinians invaded the Tiferet Avot synagogue in Efrat, Israel, spray-painting the walls and Holy Ark with swastikas, Arabic references to holy jihad, and the slogan "Hitler Destroyed Germs." The intruders also sprayed water hoses everywhere, ruining hundreds of Jewish holy books.
"There are footprints leading to one of the nearby villages" under Palestinian control, a police spokesman said.
"The intruders flooded the synagogue and stole money from the charity boxes," Efrat Mayor Eitan Golan told Reuters.
The next day, teenagers armed with blow dryers carefully worked to dry out prayer books and other holy texts.
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the American-born founder of the Efrat community, told Aish.com that the Holocaust symbols were most disturbing. "The Palestinians share a deep affinity with the Nazis, in that they seek nothing less than Jewish annihilation."
According to Joseph Singer of the World Jewish Congress, over the past few weeks, there were more attacks against synagogues around the world than during Nazi Europe. "What we are seeing is not a war against Israel," said Riskin. "It's a war against the entire Jewish people -- wherever they happen to be."
Riskin said the attack "should be a wake-up call to the entire world," citing recent reports that Christian Arabs have fled their homes in Bethlehem and Beit Jalla, in fear of Moslem reprisals against Christians. Riskin called upon Christians and other Westerners to join in mass public demonstrations against Palestinian violence.
Efrat has been the victim of other attacks in the past few weeks. At the conclusion of Yom Kippur services, one of the synagogues came under heavy Palestinian gunfire, and women and children were forced to crouch on the floor for two hours, said Riskin.
In October, the dean of the Hamivtar Yeshiva in Efrat, Rabbi Chaim Brovender, was beaten by a mob of 30 Palestinian civilians and policemen and miraculously escaped death.
Yet Efrat residents are optimistic about the future. The Friday evening after the graffiti attack, over 1,000 people packed into the synagogue that normally hold a few hundred. "We sang and danced for 20 minutes during the services, showing deep Jewish commitment to stand strong in our homeland," Riskin said.
Those interested in contributing to the restoration and the funding of security measures for the synagogue, can contact the synagogue board at (972-5) 073-0579.