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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

4 Neturei Karta Members Arrested For Vandalizing Yad Vashem

Jerusalem - Four suspects from Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Ashdod are under arrest on suspicion of spray-painting hate slogans on the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, Ammunition Hill and other landmark monuments over the last couple months, police announced Tuesday morning.

The arrests were carried out by the elite central unit of the Judea and Samaria district. Police searched the homes of suspects and seized large amounts of texts condemning Zionism, Israel, and PLO flags, as well as paint. Texts suspected to be incitement to hatred were also found on computers.

The suspects confessed to spray painting the graffiti at Yad Vashem, which shocked the country and deeply upset Holocaust survivors. They also confessed to spray painting graffiti at Ammunition Hill on Remembrance Day as well as vandalizing memorials throughout the Jordan Valley.

The suspects were scheduled to face a remand hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld confirmed that all of the suspects were members of Neturei Karta.

Neturei Karta is a small but vocal, extreme anti-Zionist sect, which believes that the founding of the State of Israel, without specific divine intervention, was a sin.

Police had believed that some sect of haredi extremists had been responsible for covering the monuments at Yad Vashem with hateful anti-Zionist slogans.

One spray-painted slogan said, “If Hitler hadn’t existed, the Zionists would have invented him.”

“Thanks Hitler for the wonderful Holocaust you organized for us! Only because of you we received a state,” read another, while a third slogan was, “Jews, wake up, the evil regime does not protect us, it only endangers us.”

Ten graffiti slogans were spray-painted in large black letters concentrated in the Warsaw Ghetto Square and the Deportees Memorial next to the cattle car.

One of the graffiti slogans was signed “World Haredi Jewry.” That, as well as the content of the graffiti, led police to believe that the vandalism was carried out by extremist anti-Zionist factions within the haredi community, said Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby.

Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said the graffiti “crossed a red line,” and that it was the worst thing he had seen in his career.

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