Anti-Semitic graffiti was found sprayed on the entrance to Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, Monday morning. Police suspect the vandalism was perpetrated by anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox extremists and have formed a special investigation task force to track down the perpetrators.
Vandals scrawled the words, “Hitler, thank you for the great Holocaust. Only because of it did we receive a state from the UN” in spray paint on the Jerusalem museum site.
Further graffiti painted on the site read: “The State of Israel — the spiritual Auschwitz of Sephardic Jewry,” “Jews, wake up! The evil cynical regime does not protect us, [it] only endangers us” and “If Hitler hadn’t existed, the Zionists would have invented him.”
Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev condemned the vandalism, saying: “We are shocked and dazed by this callous expression of burning hatred against the Zionists and Zionism.”
“This unprecedented act crosses a red line. I have reported it to the Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar, who also expressed his bewilderment. I also spoke to Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, who joined me in expressing his concern over this grave deed.”
Shalev noted that the clear Hebrew handwriting and the references to Zionism and the Holocaust led him to suspect that the perpetrators were ultra-Orthodox extremists. He said that police are reviewing security camera footage of the location.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the act: “I saw the outrageous graffiti today at Yad Vashem. It is hard to believe that a human being could be capable of writing such things. I hope that the police will apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to the justice they deserve.”
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said the vandalism was an act of “Godless extremists.”
“The act is unacceptable and desecrates the collective memory of all denominations and streams in Israel,” said Rivlin.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said, “Whoever desecrated and sullied Yad Vashem with these horrible slogans did so in order to offend public sentiment.”
Sa’ar said he trusted the police to track down those responsible.
“This is an escalation and unprecedented crossing of red lines,” said Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud), who is also responsible for preventing anti-Semitism. The slogans are a “spit in the face of the State of Israel and the victims of the Holocaust, and desecrates their memory.”
Yad Vashem, established in 1953, is a museum and research center for education and commemoration of the Holocaust. The museum complex is dedicated to commemorating the six million Jews murdered during the Shoah, and is the only organization in the world that officially gives tribute to non-Jews who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust, known as Righteous Among the Nations.
The museum is surrounded by a forested area which would enable stealthy access to the site overnight.