Public Protest Mounts After Violation of Shul in Arad

The letter by Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Dovid Azulai condemning the attack on the shul.
The letter by Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Dovid Azulai condemning the attack on the shul.

The public outcry is mounting following a heinous act that took place on Friday night in a shul in Arad, when vandals entered the shul and disrupted the davening. An emergency meeting held on Monday night at the initiative of Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman has made waves in the chareidi community. Many public figures have spoken out on the issue, in light of the fact that turning a shul, a holy site for prayer, into a stage for conflict, and on Shabbos, is an unprecedented breach.

As reported, the Health Minister stated that the desecration of a shul on Shabbos is a breach that must generate a hue and cry, as has been done throughout the generations. Rabbi Litzman stressed that this is not a political struggle, despite there being many issues to discuss. Rather, he said, we have united in protest in order to voice the pain of chareidi Jewry at this act of desecration and violation, which cannot be condoned in any way.

Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Dovid Azulai issued an unusual call to Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan, warning that if harsh steps are not taken against the vandals, there can be needless repeated acts, and it will be too late. The Religious Affairs Minister condemned the vandals in the harshest terms, and called on Minister Erdan to implement a zero tolerance policy to ensure that this does not happen again.

Rabbi Litzman met on Tuesday with the police commissioner, Roni Alsheich, and made it clear that the incident in Arad can have broader consequences, because of the fact that it was the violation of a shul during davening at the hands of Jews. The Jewish world cannot be quiet in the face of such an incident, and it is incumbent upon the police to take every step to ensure that the vandals will not do this again, or else we will see repeated incidents, chalilah.

The commissioner was very attentive, and clarified the details of the matter. He announced that the police force will work in every way possible to prevent an escalation of tensions in Arad. They also agreed that the police will act harshly against those who attacked the mispallelim and the people who sent them.

Various plans of action were discussed at the meeting, including posting police officers near the shul to prevent provocations. The commissioner is also expected to work with the mayor of Arad, Mr. Ben Hamu, who is responsible for the incitement, and to ask him to reduce the tensions in the city to maintain minimal semblance of order.

A special committee that will draft ways to act against this Shabbos desecration and the violation of the shul, will discuss the next steps today, under the guidance of Gedolei Yisrael, shlita.

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