Chicago synagogues vandalized


(JTA) — At least three Chicago-area synagogues were vandalized following rallies in support of and against Israel.

The synagogues were defaced early Saturday morning by two vandals who smashed windows and doors with rocks and bricks and sprayed pro-Palestinian graffiti on the buildings. The men were captured on a video surveillance camera at one synagogue and were seen by a caretaker fleeing the scene at a second synagogue.

Some of the graffiti read "Death to Israel and "Free Palestine," according to local reports.

Police believe that the incidents could be related and are currently being investigated as hate crimes by the Chicago Police Department and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to the Secure Community Network, which coordinates security for North American Jewish institutions. The Chicago Tribune has reported that a fourth synagogue, in the suburb of Lincolnwood, was also vandalized.

The vandalism incidents, and an attempt late Friday afternoon by four unknown men in Chicago to enter a Jewish federation building, followed a Jewish communal rally Friday in support of Israel and a pro-Palestinian rally later in the day.

A week ago, a Chicago Jewish day school received a bomb threat in the mail that was also directed at other Jewish schools and institutions.

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