Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon has visited the town of Mitzpeh Yericho in light of the desecration of a synagogue located in the Netivot Yosef Yeshiva by Palestinian Arabs. The vandals has destroyed Jewish holy books, smashed doors, furniture and several objects, and defaced a Torah Scroll. As a spokesman for Mitzpeh Yericho related, “The terrorists passed through the local yeshiva. They created a great deal of damage. By way of miracle there were no injuries or worse.”

According to Rabbi Sabato, “Miraculously, the Yeshiva is still on Passover holiday, and all the Arabs harmed were property, not lives.” He referred to what happened as a pogrom, which should be condemned just as the desecration of any Muslim or Christian holy site usually is. Indeed, the site of a damaged Torah scroll and holy books right in the wake of Holocaust Memorial Day was especially painful. As Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan declared, “Against the background of this painful day, the sign of torn holy books, a Torah scroll thrown to the ground, and a destroyed study hall remind me of the Jewish people’s darkest days.”

During Danon’s visit to the town, Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Shabtai Sabato, deputy Binyamin Regional Council head Roni Snir, and Binyamin Regional Council Education Director Rabbi Yaakov Libby all discussed this case of anti-semitic vandalism with him. The head of the Yesha Council and director of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council Avi Ro’eh stated that the incident was a “very serious one, because it involved not only vandalism and destruction of a place of worship, but an invasion of a school. We are relying on police to make every effort to find the guilty parties and bring them to justice.”

Police are still searching for the perpetrators of this crime and are collecting evidence. However, the Jewish residents of Mitzpeh Yericho are still very much not at ease that Palestinian Arabs managed to break into their community and commit this act of wanton anti-semitic aggression. According to a community activist in Mitzpeh Yericho, “The Jewish community in Mitzpe Jericho is nervous after the incident. The city has installed several security measures due to the location of the city but for some reason it has failed. Police need to investigate why the security measures in place did not prevent the incident.”

The Netivot Yosef Yeshiva in Mitzpeh Yericho prides itself on educating its students to possess a strong commitment to the Torah, as well as maintain a serious commitment to the Jewish people, Land of Israel, and the Jewish state. The Yeshiva focuses mainly on religious studies, yet also offers its students a full bagrut certificate as well. The Yeshiva is populated by students who wish to combine religious with academic studies. The Netivot Yosef Yeshiva in Mitzpeh Yericho is located near Maale Adumim, right outside Jerusalem.

By Rachel Avraham