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Swastika daubed at synagogue

    Antisemitic graffiti has been daubed outside the Etz Chaim synagogue in Leeds.

    A swastika symbol with the word “Kikes” was sprayed onto a sign at the front entrance of the shul on a main road.

    There is also believed to be further similar antisemitic graffiti daubed on the pavement outside the gate.

    An Etz Chaim spokeswoman declined to comment on the incident to the JC on Wednesday morning.

    Police confirmed they had attended the scene on Wednesday morning and a hate crime, which is now under investigation, has been recorded.

    There was no sign that anyone had gained access to the premises.

    But the Community Security Trust issued a statement saying: “CST is working closely with Etz Chaim Synagogue and with the Police regarding the antisemitic graffiti that was discovered on the property this morning.

    "As you might expect, such vile graffiti in a prominent location in the heart of the Jewish community has caused widespread upset and concern.”

    Susie Gordon executive director, of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, said “The incident at Etz Chaim is obviously very upsetting but thankfully not a common occurrence, but we understand the synagogue and police are working together to avoid it happening again.”

    Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP for Leeds North East said: "As a Jew the vandalism at the Etz Chaim synagogue was particularly hurtful for me on a personal level, but to happen in my own constituency was even more of a disappointment.

    "It is important we treat antisemitism the same way we oppose all forms of hate, regardless of religion - and respond by promoting tolerance, love and unity.

    "This was not only vandalism, but an antisemtitic hate crime and an attack on an entire community.

    "Make no mistake, there is no place for this hate in Leeds North East - a constituency that prides itself on multiculturalism where people of all faiths, and none, work and live together peacefully."

    A message on the North-West Friends of Israel Twitter site also read: "This happened in Leeds last night. Whether it's left wing or right wing anti Semitism it's abhorrent.”

    The shul is situated in the heart of the Jewish area of Alwoodley in north Leeds.

    Its clergy team is headed by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Shalom and Rikki Kupperman, and Rabbi Anthony Gilbert.

    In a statement on Wednesday West Yorkshire Police said: "At 8:41am today, police received a report of anti-Semitic graffiti at the Etz Chaim Synagogue, in Harrogate Road, Leeds.

    "Officers attended the scene and a hate crime has been recorded and is under investigation.

    "Officers from the Inner North East Neighbourhood Policing Team are aware of the incident and are increasing their patrols of the area to reassure the community and are liaising with key representatives."

    Police also appealed for anyone who witnessed anything suspicious to contact the Outer North East team via 101 quoting crime number 13170471135 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

     

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