NEW YORK (May. 25)
Three Jewish teen-agers who claimed to be members of the Jewish Defense League were arrested by police Sunday night in the act of vandalizing the Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch Yeshiva in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was told today. The youngsters, aged 15-16, were released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court for a hearing June 2. Their names were withheld because of their age. One was reported to be a student at the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Brooklyn and the others attend high school in the Bronx. Rabbi Jacob Breuer, principal of the Raphael Hirsch Yeshiva which has a student body of 800, told the JTA that incidents of vandalism occurred on Sunday night, May 16 and again on May 23. He estimated the damage at $2,500. He said the Yeshiva premises were broken into, rooms were flooded, typewriters, blackboards and bulletin boards smashed and telephones pulled from the walls. He said the walls were smeared with swastikas, obscenities and slogans which he said were characteristic of the JDL such as “an eye-for-an-eye,” “let my people go” and “six million, not one more.” Rabbi Breuer said one of the youngsters arrested last Sunday was wearing a JDL uniform and insignia and that all of them claimed to be members of the militant organization. But there was no other evidence linking the youths with the JDL. The JTA found no one available for comment at JDL headquarters today.
Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky, national director of Torah Umesorah, the National Society of Hebrew Day Schools of which the Raphael Hirsch Yeshiva is a member, expressed amazement and disbelief when questioned by the JTA today. He said he knew of the vandalization but found it difficult to believe that the JDL, which he said was committed to Jewish identity, would engage in such acts. He said he could think of nothing that would have motivated Jewish youths to desecrate a Jewish religious school. Dr. Kaminetsky said he learned of the incident only yesterday, when he returned from St. Louis, and planned an investigation but had not decided how to carry it out. He said the schools of the Torah Umesorah concentrated on education, were not politically active and eschewed violence as a form of protest. Rabbi Breuer said the police were not called after the first incident of vandalism. He said he contacted the JDL which denied any knowledge of the act and did not seem very interested. Questioned by the JTA as to a possible motive, he said that the school had consistently refused to approve of JDL tactics or to participate in its demonstrations.