German synagogues vandalized, Israeli flags lit on fire amid escalating violence in Middle East

German synagogues vandalized, Israeli flags lit on fire amid escalating violence in Middle East
AP Photo/Joshua Housing
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Germany became the site of scenes reminiscent of the 1930s when over a dozen protesters attacked synagogues in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, including the burning of Israeli flags, in response to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East on Wednesday.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that German police arrested several people of “Arabic appearance” following reports that demonstrators were burning Israeli flags outside of two synagogues in Münster and Bonn and shouting slogans.

Police also discovered the remains of a burnt Israeli flag and damage to the entrance of a synagogue in Templestrasse, Bonn, where demonstrators threw stones at the building. Police arrested three men in their 20s at the scene, and found three notes allegedly written in Arabic. All three suspects may face criminal charges for violating Germany’s Assembly Act. 

On Tuesday, an unidentified suspect burned a memorial to the former Great Synagogue on Kasernenstrasse in Düsseldorf, which was destroyed in 1938 by the Nazis during the Kristallnacht. Police have yet to locate the suspect responsible for its destruction. 

"We are very concerned that this attack took place here in the heart of Düsseldorf, in the immediate context of the current escalation of violence in Israel," said Oded Horowitz, chairman of the Jewish community in Düsseldorf. He called for more protection of the Jewish community in response to the escalating violence.

Düsseldorf Mayor Stephan Keller described the arson attack as a “horrific act.” 

"I strongly condemn it in the current situation to attack one of the city's most important memorial sites and to abuse it for political purposes," he said.

The escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists that began at the start of the week has since become the most violent confrontation in the region since 2014, as Hamas and other terrorist organizations ramp up their calls for violence against Israeli civilians. Hamas and the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad have fired hundreds of rockets a day into Israel since Monday.

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