Saturday, January 28, 2012

Torah Burned in Second Synagogue Fire in Old Ramle 

Jewish congregants arrived at the Algriva synagogue in Old Ramle on Saturday morning to find fire fighters trying to put out a blaze that had erupted inside their house of worship.

By the time the fire was subdued a Torah scroll, a pair of tefillin [phylacteries – ed], the library of holy books, and seating inside had been ravaged by the flames.

Fire officials declared the synagogue sealed to the public and fire investigators began searching the building for clues as to what caused the fire to start.

Worshippers now suspect arson since no Shabbat candles were lit inside and fire investigators did not discover an electrical fault.

Another congregant who spoke to Arutz Sheva on Saturday evening after Shabbat said the situation in Old Ramle is complex due to the presence of Arab crime families in the neighborhood.

Speaking on condition of anonymity he said, "These families host the numerous criminal elements, there drugs and celebrations into the night with disorderly conduct. The police are working to end this phenomenon."

Saturday morning’s fire is the second at the Algriva synagogue in Old Ramle. A month ago Arabs set fire to the second floor of the building where religious supplies are kept.

At the time Israeli police officials blamed the fire on an electrical short, but congregants pointed to bars on the windows of the room where the fire started being cut saying police did not want to admit it was arson.

Two weeks ago vandals broke into the synagogue in Emek Lod in Judea. Congregants were shocked to find the ark desecrated and the Torah scrolls thrown in the mud and trampled upon.

In that incident, burglars removed the silver plate from the Sephardic case for the Torah scrolls, stole the decorative pomegranates made of pure silver, and robbed the charity fund.


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