Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday condemned the painting of swastikas on the side of two synagogues in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak Saturday as “a despicable act of evil.”
Bennett said in a statement that “the destruction of the synagogues in Bnei Brak is a serious crime of hatred and incitement.”
Police said they were investigating the incident after receiving a report on Saturday night.
In addition to the graffiti, photos of Shira Banki — a 16-year-old girl murdered by an ultra-Orthodox extremist at the 2015 Jerusalem Pride Parade — were found scattered in the area. Banki’s death is set to be commemorated on Monday.
“Contempt of holy sites, including the criminal use of the image of the late Shira Banki girl, who was murdered, is a despicable act of evil,” Bennett said.
“We will not allow this to take place without a response,” he said, vowing that police will bring the perpetrators to justice.
The prime minister added that in the month preceding the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah, typically a time for self-introspection, “the people of Israel must unite and show unconditional love for one another. ”
Following the incident, Uri Banki, Shira Banki’s father, told Radio 103FM that the use of photos of his daughter felt like “a punch in the stomach.”
“מזכיר ימים אפלים”: צלבי קרס רוססו על בית כנסת בבני ברק – ותמונות של שירה בנקי פוזרו במקום. ח”כ יעקב אשר – “פרי באושים של הסתה מתמשכת ונטולת רסן נגד כל דבר שריח של יהדות וחרדים נודף ממנו”@AkivaWeisz
(צילום: ליכוד בני ברק) pic.twitter.com/3ELOyLETxp
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) July 31, 2021
“There is no connection between us and the desecration of synagogues, between Shira and the desecration of synagogues,” he stressed, “It is the opposite of everything we believe in and everything Shira believed in. It is the opposite of everything we try to do. It is just disgusting.”
United Torah Judaism MK Yaakov Asher condemned the vandalism, saying it was part of “continued and unrestrained incitement against anything with a whiff of Judaism or ultra-Orthodoxy to it.”