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Pro-Israel Rally Photos, Local Synagogues Attacked

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jan 11, 2009 9:50PM

Yesterday, we shared reader photos of Friday's pro-Palestine rally downtown. Today, we have some photos to share from the pro-Israel rally held earlier Friday at the Federal Plaza, organized by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. One reader said of the pro-Israel rally:

The message of the rally, I thought, was that Israel was out of options and they couldn't just let rockets rain down on their citizens. They're doing everything they can to preserve life while Hamas is doing everything they can to destroy it ... Foreign Minister Livini and all the speakers also made a point of saying that their enemy is not the Palestinian people, but Hamas and that all they want is an end to the rocket fire.
Several other pro-Israel rallies were held in cities across the country, part of a Week of Solidarity with Israel.

Since the relatively peaceful rallies, however, several local synagogues and a Jewish school have been vandalized. The incidents happened less than two weeks after an attack on Temple Sholom. In Lincolnwood, a pair of men vandalized and damaged Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation. The vandals spray-painted “Death to Israel’’ and “Free Palestine" on the walls of the synagogue and also caused damage by throwing bricks at the front door. Mitchell Sandler, past president of the congregation, said, “This was a cowardly act in the middle of the night. Obviously there is dismay because of what’s been happening in the Middle East.’’

2009_01_11_synagogue.jpg Similar incidents occurred at Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago, a Jewish school, and Anshe Motele Congregation. Lubavitch Mesivta rabbi, Moshe Perlstein, says the incident was caught on tape.

The footage shows one man spray-painting the side of the building while the other ran around to the front and threw rocks at the front door, breaking a glass window, he said. The video has been turned over to police.
Due to the similarity in all three attacks this weekend, police believe they're linked and are even investigating the possibility that the incidents are linked to the Temple Sholom incident, which has been classified as a hate crime. According to the Trib, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is aiding the investigation.

Image of graffiti at Lubavitch Mesivta by Nancy Murphy, via CBS2 and WBBM