Synagogue South of Jerusalem Burned to the Ground

He burned the House of Hashem, the king’s palace, and all the houses of Yerushalayim; he burned down the house of every notable person. II Kings 25:9 (The Israel Bible™)

The synagogue in the small community of Givat Sorek, which is located just south of Jerusalem in the Gush Etzion regional bloc, was burned down by Palestinian arsonists on Tuesday night.

Although the arsonists destroyed the house of prayer by throwing firebombs at the building, there were no reported injuries. Nevertheless, the community is very disturbed, particularly because this was not the first time the synagogue has faced such an attack.

“(The political leadership) gave up on the terrorists the previous time and now we have a burnt synagogue,” residents said according to Israel’s Channel 20. “Everyone said they would bring the wrongdoers to justice, but an investigation was not even opened.”

Arsonists, from the nearby Palestinian town of Halhul, had entered the synagogue early February of 2016 and set fire to several Torah scrolls and other holy books.

“The sight of the burned Torah scrolls in Gush Etzion is heartrending,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said at the time. “The assault on our people’s sanctities hurts all the more when it is done at the place that commemorates Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali, who were murdered by a cruel hand.”

The synagogue overlooks the site where three Israeli teens, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel were kidnapped and subsequently murdered in June 2014 by members of the Hamas terrorist organization.

The residents of Givat Sorek hope that security forces bring an end to such incidents.

“For a long time we have been warning that illegal roads are being paved by Palestinians around the community,” the community said in a statement.  “They are endangering the residents of the community and provide easy access for anyone who wants to harm us.”

“We again call upon the security forces to block these roads and restore security to the community and its surroundings.”


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