Israeli Flag Burned at Northampton Synagogue
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — Northampton Police are investigating a possible hate crime. Someone tried to burn an Israeli flag that flies in front of Congregation B’Nai Israel.
The report was made around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon by the building manager.
“I couldn’t believe it. I’ve lived in Northampton for 28 years. I love Northampton. I know the community is extremely supportive of us. Especially now at this time. I was surprised that something would have happened, but I was especially sad,” said Gillian Kendall, Co-President of Congregation B’Nai Israel.
There was minor damage done to the flag. However, Kendall says it is very disturbing.
“I think it’s sad that people can’t speak up and engage in reasonable debate instead of doing something that says nothing,” Kendall says. “We don’t know what these people were thinking.”
Northampton Police think whoever tried to burn the flag used a cigarette lighter. Rabbi Justin David was away when the incident happened.
“There are those in our community who are critical of Israel’s war in Gaza. But while people are entitled to their opinions and welcome to express them, there is no excuse for committing damage to property,” said Rabbi David.
A day after the incident happened, a member of the congregation brought a new flag to the synagogue as a sign of moving forward.
“The rabbi has said that we should pray for our synagogue, our community, for Israel and for all humanity,” Kendall said. “Now, I think that’s a pretty good idea whatever you think about prayer.”
Right now, police say they have no suspects or motive.
Synagogue leaders are upset, but hope the incident will create a dialogue. They are urging people to have an open dialogue by attending their Israeli committee meetings. Their next meeting is this Tuesday, August 12, at 6:30 p.m.