(July 30, 2018 / JNS) Vice President Mike Pence expressed sympathy and outrage on Sunday after a synagogue in his home state was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti on Saturday.
“Sickened and appalled by the cowardly act of vandalism at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla; a beautiful synagogue in Carmel, Indiana, where I have many good friends,” the former Indiana governor posted on Twitter. “Those responsible must be held accountable. These vile acts of anti-Semitism must end.”
The temple was spray-painted with a large Nazi flag and Nazi iron crosses. The vandalism occurred late Friday or early Saturday, and was discovered on Saturday morning. Shabbat services at the conservative synagogue went on as planned.
“We are deeply disappointed in the horrific vandalism that occurred at our Congregation,” Shaarey Tefilla Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow said in a statement. “Intolerance, hatred and violent acts against Jews are significant realities today. The response to this heinous act affirms that America is collectively outraged at these hateful acts in our neighborhoods.”
In addition to the vice president, other Indiana politicians expressed similar sentiments.
“The vandalism at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla goes well beyond a petty crime. It was a hateful act of anti-Semitism that goes against everything America stands for,” said Republican Sen. Todd Young.
“I’ve spoken with Rabbi Sendrow and members of the congregation, and I stand with them in condemning this ignorant and disgusting crime,” he added. “Our nation’s diversity is a great attribute, not an undesirable flaw.”
Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly also condemned the vandalism, saying “there is no place for anti-Semitism, bigotry or hatred in our communities, state and country.”
“I am appalled by the despicable and hateful act of anti-Semitism perpetrated yesterday against Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel,” Republican Rep. Susan Brooks said in a statement.
“I urge all citizens of Carmel, Hamilton County and throughout the state to join me in speaking out against this awful act of intolerance and bigotry,” she continued. “Actions like this have no place in our community, and I hope the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.”
The responsible party has yet to be identified as police continue to investigate.
Among religious groups, Jews were the most targeted for hate crimes in the United States in 2016, according to the FBI.