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Buenos Aires synagogues get bomb threats

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BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Two Buenos Aires synagogues received bomb threats in the wake of violent anti-Semitic attacks at a public street celebration.

Monday’s bomb threats on the Amaijai and New Israeli Community synagogues, both located in the highly Jewish-populated neighborhood of Belgrano, proved to be false.

Also Monday, hundreds of protesters, mostly women and children, clamored for the release of the five men arrested Sunday during a cultural event organized by the Buenos Aires city government to celebrate the 61st anniversary of Israel. Several people were injured during the violent demonstration at the street fair.

The men have been identified as members of the Front of Revolutionary Action, which has links to leftist radical groups such as the political organization Quebracho. The group maintains an Internet blog and defines itself as Marxist-Leninist.  

The five men were scheduled to appear Tuesday at a court hearing and could be charged on several counts, including violating the anti-discriminatory law and public intimidation.

The local Jewish community and the Israeli ambassador have called for an investigation into what they consider an attack on democracy.

“We don’t know how much time this process could last, but we are demanding a serious investigation to see who are the leaders of this group and try to stop these deliberate anti-Semitic acts,” Aldo Donzis, the DAIA local Jewish political umbrella president, told JTA.

Unlike Jewish leadership, the national government has said the incident is not a sign of a new wave of anti-Semitism in Argentina.

The government’s attitude has not been well received by the local Jewish community.

Donzis said that after anti-Semitic incidents increased at the beginning of the year due to Israel’s military operation in Gaza, new incidents erupted that were "not even linked to Gaza but merely anti Jewish."

Even then, Donzis told JTA, the government denied that it was a new wave of anti-Semitism, fearing "it brings imbalance and insecurity to society."

"The result we are facing is an anti-Semitic campaign," he said. "What happened last Sunday was an anti-Semitic act and cannot be called differently.”

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