Middle East

Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial defaced

Israeli workers clean anti-Zionist Hebrew graffiti from Yad Vashem
Ten pieces of graffiti were discovered on the memorial

Vandals have defaced the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with graffiti denouncing Zionism.

One of the slogans daubed in paint on the walls of the memorial read: "If Hitler had not existed, the Zionists would have invented him."

"This unprecedented act crosses a red line," Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said in a statement .

Suspicion for the attack has fallen on radical ultra-Orthodox Jews who oppose the creation of the state of Israel.

Mr Shalev pointed out in comments to local media that one of the slogans was signed "world ultra-Orthodox Jewry".

"We are shocked and dazed by this callous expression of burning hatred against the Zionists and Zionism," Mr Shalev said.

Photos of some of the other slogans have been published in the Israeli press, including one reading: "Thanks Hitler for the wonderful Holocaust you organised for us. Only thanks to you we got a state from the UN."

Another reads: "Honourable government of Poland, stop allowing the Zionists to hold manipulative 'memorial' ceremonies in Auschwitz."

Education Minister Gideon Saar condemned the graffiti, saying: "Whoever desecrated and soiled Yad Vashem with these disturbed slogans did it with the aim of harming public sensibilities."

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said an investigation was under way.

Some ultra-Orthodox Jews believe that a Jewish state can be established only after the coming of the Messiah, and that the state of Israel is therefore illegitimate.

Yad Vashem was established in 1953 and commemorates the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.

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