Armenia opens probe into arson attack on synagogue

Videos on social media show person pouring burning fuel on door of Mordechai Navi Jewish Centre in Yerevan; Armenian Jewish community spokesperson: ‘We are horrified’

The Mordechai Navi Synagogue in the Armenian capital Yerevan. (Photo: Vacio - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikicommons)
The Mordechai Navi Synagogue in the Armenian capital Yerevan. (Photo: Vacio - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikicommons)

Armenian authorities said Thursday that they had opened an investigation after the country’s only synagogue was vandalized in an arson attack.

Videos from social media on Wednesday showed a person pouring burning fuel on the door of the Mordechai Navi Jewish Centre, which serves the small Jewish population in the capital Yerevan.

“On November 15, the police received a call that unknown persons wanted to set fire to the doors of the building at 23 Nar-Dos Street in Yerevan,” local police told AFP.

“An investigation has been launched,” Armenian police said.

Rima Varzhapetyan, the president of Armenia’s Jewish community, said that the synagogue had not been seriously damaged and that no one was in the building at the time.

“We are horrified because Jews have never had any problems in Armenia,” she told AFP.

Videos of the incident were published by news outlets from Armenia’s arch-rival Azerbaijan, which has fought multiple wars with its neighbor.

“We didn’t know what had happened yet, and Azerbaijani channels were already circulating photos of the building,” Varzhapetyan said.

“Obviously, there are some forces that work not against us Jews, but against Armenia. This is outrageous,” she said.

Israel’s non-resident ambassador to Armenia, Joel Lion, denounced the attack in a statement on social media.

“I call on the government of Armenia to condemn all forms of antisemitism, to fully investigate this crime, and bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

There has been a rise in antisemitic incidents in many countries since the October 7 Hamas onslaught, which sparked an Israeli offensive against the terror group and its infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

The attacks saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from Gaza by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing over 240 hostages of all ages, under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

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