Two headstones smashed at Dutch Jewish cemetery


(JTA) — Two headstones were smashed at a Jewish cemetery in the southern Dutch city of Vlissingen.

The vandalism was discovered last week. It was not immediately clear whether the incident was motivated by anti-Semitism, the news site reported on Dec. 25.

One of the smashed headstones marked the grave of Joseph van Raalte, a director of the Royal Schelde shipyard, which built vessels for the Dutch Navy. Police are looking for suspects.

Anti-Semitic incidents increased dramatically in the Netherlands during Israel’s summer operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The CIDI watchdog group registered 105 complaints during the two-month operation. By comparison, the organization registered 147 during the whole of 2013.

In one incident this summer, a firebomb was hurled at the Amsterdam home of a Jewish woman from Mexico who displayed an Israeli flag on her porch.

The incidents are causing a growing number of Dutch Jews to avoid displaying Jewish symbols, according to Manfred Gerstenfeld, a scholar of anti-Semitism in Europe who grew up in the Netherlands.

Earlier this week, the Jewish community of Heemstede near Haarlem inaugurated a new synagogue displaying few Jewish symbols on the building’s facade for security reasons, according to the Heemsteedse Courant daily.

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