Anti-Israel protesters target synagogue in Venezuela

(JTA) — Anti-Israel protesters reportedly burned an effigy of the Israeli prime minister and shouted anti-Jewish slogans at the main synagogue of the Venezuelan capital. 

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Around 50 people staged a demonstration Thursday outside Tiféret Israel in Caracas, according to a report on RTP, a Brazilian news channel.

The Venezuelan Confederation of Jewish Associations (CAIV) said in a statement that the demonstration caused “a temporary suspension of activities and generated panic among the worshipers.” 

The demonstrators burned a puppet meant to represent Benjamin Netanyahu, RTP reported, and shouted: “Murdering Jews, leave innocent people alone.”

In a statement, CAIV wrote that “the Jewish community of Venezuela expresses its indignation at this aggression, directed at a place of worship” and called on the Venezuelan government to “guarantee safety in places of worship and the peace of those who frequent them.”

In recent years, CAIV has repeatedly expressed concern about anti-Semitic statements in Venezuela’s state media and asked President Hugo Chávez’s government to ensure security at synagogues. In 2009, vandals broke into the same synagogue, shattering religious objects, spray-painting anti-Semitic slogans and stealing a computer database with names and addresses of Jews. Authorities later arrested 11 people, including eight police officers, for alleged involvement. Chávez condemned the attack.

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