KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — Vandals desecrated a synagogue in a breakaway Moldovan territory.
The unidentified vandals broke into a synagogue in the self-declared republic of Transdniestr on Sunday night, drawing neo-Nazi graffiti on the walls and desecrating the Bendery synagogue, according to a source in Moldova. The area in which the synagogue is located seceded from Moldova in the early 1990s.
The vandals also desecrated the ark, Torah scroll and prayer table, burned posters and stole silver religious objects, Mikhail Tulchinsky, a Bendery synagogue and community leader, told the local publication Novaya Gazeta.
According to local Jewish leaders, it was not the first incident of vandalism and anti-Semitism in Bendery, a town of approximately 100,000.
Local law enforcement agencies are investigating the case as an incident of “hooliganism.”
Tulchinsky said that a Holocaust memorial was vandalized twice recently in Bendery, and that neo-Nazi youth painted Nazi symbols on the gates of the local Jewish cemetery.
“This was done in order to drive us out of here,” Tulchinsky told Novaya Gazeta.
It is not clear if the town has hate crimes legislation on its books.