Ynet News (https://bit.ly/2OGFxTf) reported that police arrested a 35 year old local man who is believed to have entered Hadera’s Great Synagogue on Hagiborim Street sometime after Shabbos ended and removed the Torah from a secondary aron kodesh, before placing it on the floor near the bima and setting it on fire.
The charred Torah was then reportedly wrapped in garbage bags and placed with the trash, with witnesses saying that its wooden arms could be seen poking out of the bags.
The Torah was discovered by a man who came early Sunday morning to use the synagogue’s mikvah and contacted officials after seeing smoke emanating from the trash can.
The synagogue’s main aron kodesh was locked at the time of the incident. Gabai Roni Rimmer, said that the burned Torah was one that had been donated decades ago, one of several that were given to the synagogue by Holocaust survivors.
According to Arutz Sheva (http://bit.ly/2yvKZht) the Torah was kept in the secondary aron kodesh because it was worn out after years of usage and no longer kosher.
“We don’t know who could have done something like this,” said Rimmer. “There are no arguments here, no fights, no conflicts and no enemies. This is a synagogue where everyone is like family, that serves all who live here. We are counting on the police to treat this investigation with the seriousness it deserves.”
Within 24 hours a police spokesperson announced that a suspect, a man who lived next door to the synagogue, was in custody and was due to appear in court today.
Meanwhile in Hadera, selichos were added to the morning prayers and a fast day was declared to mourn the Torah’s fiery desecration, with plans for a funeral yet to be announced.
Hadera Shas leader Boaz Biton posted pictures of the burned Torah on Facebook and wrote, “We are stunned and shaken to the core of our souls by the burning of the venerated Torah that connects us to generations gone by in the Great Synagogue of Hadera.
It is impossible for any person who has the spark of Judaism burning in his soul to not be stricken by this terrible occurrence.”