Arabs Set Fire to Gush Etzion Shul

A view of the burned sefarim in the Karmei Tzur shul fire. (Karmei Tzur Secuirty)
A view of the burned sefarim in the Carmei Tzur shul fire. (Carmei Tzur Security)

Arabs late on Friday night set fire to a shul in the community of Carmei Tzur that was established last year in memory of the three teens murdered by Hamas – Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach, Hy”d. The June 2014 kidnapping and murder was an impetus for Operation Protective Edge. Security forces in the town were able to bring the fire under control, but there was substantial damage to the structure – and to many sefarim and siddurim.

Congregants said that the Arabs had placed the sefarim in a pile and set them on fire. Residents noted that Arabs have set fire to the shul in the past.

IDF troops began a search for the culprits, with the search centering on the village of Halhoul. No arrests have been made yet.

According to Carmei Tzur officials, the shul, built in a temporary structure, is used daily. It is built on a site overlooking the cave where the bodies of the three teens were found after a week-long search. The three teens were killed by Hamas terrorists who picked them up as they were hitchhiking, and then dumped their bodies in a cave.

In a statement, Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said, “I am positive that the Holocaust survivors who established Gush Etzion and who witnessed Kristallnacht in Germany never imagined they would see such scenes again. The government must end the Arab rioting and the damage to Israeli lives. We expect to see international condemnation of this hate crime.”

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