TEL AVIV (Jul. 1)
Israelis of nearly every persuasion have expressed revulsion at the placement Sunday of a severed pig’s head at the entrance of the Great Synagogue in Bnei Brak, the religious township northeast of Tel Aviv.
President Chaim Herzog called the vandalism an “unprecedented, disgusting act” and said he hoped the perpetrators would be caught and punished.
Spokespersons for the various kibbutz movements, traditionally bastions of secularism, also expressed their abhorrence of the act, saying it was a sacrilege unworthy of anyone calling himself a Jew.
The kibbutzim have come under attack from some Orthodox rabbis lately for allegedly trying to lead Sephardic immigrants away from their Orthodox practices.
But secular groups stressed that the struggle against religious coercion, a battle waged since the founding of the state, must not degenerate into a campaign against religious people.
The desecration of the Bnei Brak synagogue was noticed by passersby, who called the police.
A note pinned to the pig’s head said, “I am also a haredi Jew.”
“Haredi” is the term applied to the most strictly Orthodox groups. The word also means “fearful.”
Secular Israelis have used the double meaning when they protest attempts by the Orthodox to enforce their religious practices on non-ob-servant Jews.