Jewish graves in New Zealand’s capital city were desecrated. The six graves in Wellington’s Karori Cemetery were found defaced on Oct. 7 with anti-Semitic phrases, according to a report from the New Zealand Jewish Chronicle reprinted in The Jerusalem Post. The attack is believed to have been set off by a front-page article in Wellington’s Dominion Post two days earlier in which the new Israeli ambassador to New Zealand, Yuval Rotem, indicated his desire to hire a native New Zealander to work in his Australian office.
Rotem was taken to task for this comment, which seems to violate New Zealand’s anti-discrimination law. The graffiti targeted Rotem and the article’s author, Hank Schouten, and also included more typical anti-Semitic slurs.
Local Jewish leaders did not make the vandalism public initially for fear of copycat attacks. The graffiti has since been removed.
Three years ago, more than 100 Jewish graves at two other cemeteries in Wellington were desecrated and a prayer house was burnt to the ground following the arrest of two Israeli agents for passport fraud.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.