TOA Vandalism Details Emerge As Two Suspects Sought

The St. Paul Police Department released new information on last week’s vandalism at Temple of Aaron synagogue in St. Paul, including details that suggest the perpetrators may be or are claiming to be Jewish.

According to Steve Linders of the SPPD, the building and a sign located on the northwest area of the property were spraypainted with graffiti at about 11:15 p.m. Thursday, April 7. The graffiti on the building read: “Anti-Zionist Jews 4 a free Palestine,” and the graffiti on the yard sign read: “Zionism kills” on one side and “Jews for free Palestine” on the other.

The yard sign, according to an email from Temple of Aaron, was one that proclaimed its “support for the state of Israel and our prayers for peace in the region.”

According to video evidence, there were two suspects who were both wearing masks. No arrests have been made and the case remains under investigation.

In the Friday email, the synagogue’s clergy wrote: “This event is especially disgraceful as we stand in mourning for Tomer Morad, age 27, Eytam Magini, age 27, and Barak Lufen, age 35, who were murdered by a terrorist in Tel Aviv just yesterday after two weeks of terror throughout the country. We want to be clear — this type of cowardly vandalism done under the cover of night only serves to strengthen our resolute support of our family in our beloved spiritual homeland. We stand with Israel.”

Israel has seen a sudden increase in terror attacks in recent days, with more terror victims killed in 2022 than in the past two years combined. The perpetrators have been Arab Israelis and Palestinians from the West Bank, some of whom have claimed affiliation with the terrorist group ISIS.

The attacks come a year after clashes between Palestinians and Jews in Jerusalem culminated in Jewish and Arab-Israeli riots in parts of Israel long considered areas of coexistence. In the same period, Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza, started an 11-day war with Israel.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which started in early April, often coincides with an increase in terror attacks in Israel and clashes between Jews and Palestinians.

In a statement, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas said it is monitoring the situation as the vandalism is investigated:

“The JCRC condemns this antisemitic anti-Israel vandalism in the wake of Palestinian terrorism, in which fourteen people have been murdered and many more wounded over the past three weeks in Israel, making it the deadliest round of terrorism since 2006.

“JCRC staff members are in direct contact with Temple of Aaron staff, law enforcement, and the Secure Community Network. We thank these dedicated partners for their support and focused attention in investigating this incident.”