Arson Attack on the Masorti (Conservative) Synagogue in the City of Arad
Last night a there was an attempt to set fire to the Masorti synagogue in Arad. A year earlier a similar attempt failed. Since then there have been a series of incidents involving vandalism and wanton destruction. Last week vandals attempted to break into the synagogue building – leaving a hole in the exterior wall. Yesterday they returned using the opening to insert flammable materials. It was miraculous that a serious disaster was avoided. The police reaction: This is a most serious incident and we are investigating all avenues.
Congregation Shira Hadasha in Arad is one of some sixty Masorti congregations in Israel. It is an established congregation with a respected place in the municipality. It is the only Non-Orthodox in Arad.
In recent years the congregation has suffered a serious of incidents of vandalism – most efforts to set fire to the building. Yesterday's attempt was the most serious and disturbing to date.
"We are appalled" said Yizhar Hess, Executive Director of the Masorti Movement in Israel. "Fortunately there have been few such acts elsewhere of late, nonetheless, this is a most disturbing act. We do not know who may be behind this act, nor do we wish to cast blame on any group – however, in light of .internal strife between the Ultra-Orthodox congregations in the city of Arad, it may be that radical elements sought to find a common foe. We will not surrender to such violence."
"When the system of law comes under attack, it is but a short distance to attacks against all that is sanctified," said Rabbi Barry Schlessinger, president of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel. "Sadly I see a connection between the desecration of the Halls of Justice and this attack against a holy site – because the perpetrators seek to deny its sanctity. These criminals bring about the desecration of God's holy name."
The Masorti Movement is a denomination in Judaism which integrates faithfulness to tradition and Jewish law with an openness to the modern world. The Masorti Movement sees Jewish law a as dynamic source of Jewish values, relevant to the changing society in each generation.
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