JERUSALEM, Israel -- Workers arriving at Jerusalem's Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Monday morning were greeted by rabidly anti-Semitic graffiti neatly spray painted on several walls. Police are investigating the demoralizing incident.
Declarations such as "Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust" and "If Hitler didn't exist, the Zionists would have had to invent them," and "The State of Israel, the spiritual Auschwitz of Sephardic Jewry" and "Jews wake up -- the Zionist regime is dangerous," were among the 10 messages sprayed on the museum's walls.
Yad VaShem chairman Avner Shalev told reporters he was "appalled by this blatant act of hatred toward the State and toward Zionism," adding that the vandalism "crosses a red line."
"This is a difficult and painful day for me and the staff of Yad VaShem," Shalev said. "I am shocked and stunned by this callous expression of burning hatred against Zionists and Zionism. This is a worrying act that crosses a red line and is an offense to the memory of the Holocaust."
Shalev said the neatly written Hebrew scrawl and repeated references to Zionism led him to believe the perpetrators are extremist members of the ultra-Orthodox community. He said Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar was also outraged by the vandalism.
"Whoever desecrated and sullied Yad VaShem with these horrible slogans did so to offend public sentiment," Sa'ar said.
Established in 1953, the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial and Martyrs serves as the central place worldwide to commemorate, document, educate, research and perpetuate the memory of the 6 million European Jews murdered by Germany's Nazi regime during World War II.