A young man in Zhitomir, Ukraine desecrated a synagogue in the city, making it the third reported incident of anti-Semitism in this small Western Ukrainian city within a month’s time.
On August 16th the youth forced his way into the shul during during services and smashed a window inside the building before fleeing the scene of the crime. Police have not yet made any arrests in the case, or publicly identified a suspect.
This incident follows one in early August, in which a Chabad rabbi and his wife were beaten by two men on the street. Also, in early July, another of the city’s rabbi’s was attacked by a group of about twenty men shouting anti-Semitic slogans.
The most recent attack prompted Ukraine’s chief rabbi, Ariel Chaikin, to write a letter to the offices of the prime minister, general procurator and State Security Services of Ukraine, demanding an investigation into the incidents.
Zhitomir, once the official Jewish center of the Southern Pale of Settlement under the Czarist government, has a long Jewish history. Jews numbered one-third of the general population by 1861, but the vast majoritywere exterminated during the Holocaust.
It is unclear what has caused this recent upswing in anti-Semitic violence.