Prayer books, Torah scrolls burnt in suspected Palestinian arson attack

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jewish prayer books and Torah scrolls in a synagogue in an outpost in the Etzion bloc were burned by suspected Palestinian arsonists.

The synagogue is located in the Givat Sorek outpost, established on a hill overlooking the site where three Jewish teens were kidnapped from a bus stop and murdered in the summer of 2014. The synagogue was named for the three teens: Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach.

The apparent arson attack occurred on Friday in the outpost located next to the Carmei Tzur settlement.

A trail of evidence led to a nearby Palestinian village, Judea and Samaria District Police determined, according to reports.

The books and Torahs were put into a pile in the tent that serves as the synagogue and center for youth activities and set alight.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for condemnation both in Israel and in the world community in remarks at the start of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting.

“I expect from everyone in the country and around the world who rightly condemn every desecration of a mosque or writing of graffiti on mosques, including the burning of mosques, I expect them to come out with the same cry against, and condemnation of, this abhorrent act,” Netanyahu said.

“We are in a harsh struggle between those who – like us – seek coexistence and peace, and those who seek war and bloodshed,” he also said.

Sheikh Mohammed Kaiyuan Abu Ali, the chairman of the council of Muslim religious leaders in Israel, condemned the arson attack in a conversation Sunday with Israel’s Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau, Israel National News reported.

The news website quoted the Sheikh as saying, “In my name, and on behalf of all imams, we condemn this act and hope another disaster like this doesn’t happen again in any holy place.”

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