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Three ultra-Orthodox Jewish men have been arrested in Israel, suspected of defacing the national Holocaust memorial with anti-Zionist graffiti.
One of the slogans daubed in paint on the walls of the memorial read: "If Hitler had not existed, the Zionists would have invented him."
The suspects have admitted vandalising the site, a police spokesman said.
Suspicion for the attack had fallen on radical ultra-Orthodox Jews who oppose the creation of the state of Israel.
One of the slogans, all in Hebrew, was signed "world ultra-Orthodox Jewry".
The Jerusalem district Police said Tuesday that the suspects have also been linked to other vandalism cases of monuments in the greater Jerusalem area. According to police sources, a search of the suspects' apartments yielded anti-Israel and anti-Zionists material, spray cans and PLO flags. A search of their computers derived material the police said constitutes sedition.
The Judea and Samaria District Police arrested three ultra-Orthodox men overnight Monday on suspicion of desecrating the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial with anti-Zionist slogans two weeks ago. For two months, the police have been conducting an undercover investigation of the three suspects, aged 18, 26, and 27, leading up to their arrest. The three will be brought into court for an extension of their remand on Tuesday afternoon.
The three men, accused of vandalizing the Yad Vashem memorial with more than 10 anti-Zionist slogans, are also suspected of spray-painting anti-Zionist graffiti at various locations at Jerusalem's Ammunition Hill memorial site in April. During the arrest, police found spray cans, Palestinian flags, and computer documents suspected of being "incitement against the state." Despite the fact that the three men are residents of Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and Ashdod, the investigation was carried out by the Judea and Samaria District since the first incident occurred in the Jordan Valley. Two weeks ago, anti-Zionist slogans were spray-painted at the entrance to the Israel's Yad Vashem museum.
Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev praised the quick and effective work of the police.
"I believe that it was important to know the identities of those who spray-painted the graffiti. The suspects are extremist ultra-Orthodox Jews, anti-Zionists, who are on the fringes of society, and do not represent the majority who respect the memory of the Holocaust," Shalev said. "Numerous reactions that we received from Israel and around the world, expressing condemnation and repugnance of the graffiti testify that this warped action offended many, and I hope that the court will mete out justice to the criminals."