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Israeli Reform nursery school severely damaged by firebomb

JERUSALEM, Sept. 1 (JTA) – Firebombings of Jewish sites carried out by hatemongers occasionally occur in Europe. But Israel was the site of such an attack this week when a nursery school operated by the Reform movement in Mevasseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem, was struck Sunday night. The school, which is located in a rented apartment, was almost completely destroyed. The private nursery, which serves 40 children between the ages of 3 and 5, had been scheduled to open its doors Monday, the first day of Israel’s new school year. But when teachers arrived at the school Monday morning, they found the remains of a firebomb, which police said was thrown through a window. Police said they have not yet found any suspects. Hannah Sorek, chairwoman of the Reform congregation Kehillat Mevasseret Zion, believes that the firebombing was a hate crime. “There are people who don’t want us here,” Sorek said. Congregation members were planning to hold a demonstration at the local municipal council Tuesday, to demand new quarters for the nursery school, she said. The firebombing took place at time of heightened religious tensions in Israel, where the non-Orthodox movements have been calling for an increased role in the country’s religious life, which until now has been under the sole control of the Orthodox.

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