Fire blackened the entrance of the Masorti Yedid Nefesh synagogue in=
>The fire blackened the entrance mat and melted two plastic plants.
>Members of the community, which numbers about 40=20
>families, said that the incident comes just two=20
>weeks after a sign was placed on the fa=E7ade of=20
>the synagogue identifying it with the Masorti movement.
>But police said that fire was set by bored=20
>teenagers and that there was no suspicion that=20
>the attack was religiously motivated.
>The building, the community's first permanent=20
>house of prayer, was built over a year ago with=20
>help from the Housing and Construction Ministry and the Modi'in=
>"The damage was minimal but the shock is great,"=20
>said Naomi Dar, chairperson of Yedid Nefesh."The=20
>attack was definitely aimed against us," added=20
>Dar who admitted that except for a few isolated=20
>incidents, Masorti Jews always felt welcome and comfortable in Modi'in.
>But Supt. Yoram Barina, commander of the Modi'in=20
>police station, said that the arson incident was=20
>the work of "bored youths on summer vacation"=20
>and rejected the possibility that the fire was=20
>started by individuals ideological opposed to the Masorti movement.
>"This was just a prank by a bunch of kids who=20
>played around with fire," said Barina.
>Modi'in Reut Spokesman Elad Shimonovich said=20
>that an investigation by the Modi'in security=20
>department and Modi'in Police revealed that the=20
>incident was an act of vandalism by teenagers,=20
>and not an attempt to firebomb a synagogue=20
>motivated by ideology or religious conviction.
>"This is a prefab building that from the outside=20
>does not look like a synagogue and therefore the=20
>youths were not conscious of their actions," said Shimonovich.
>Chief Rabbi of Modi'in David Lau, who is=20
>Orthodox, said in response to the incident that=20
>"burning synagogues was never the way of the Torah."
>Dar said that about three years ago a group of=20
>haredi youths disrupted prayers and scared=20
>children of the community during Pessah=20
>services. Police detained some of the youths,=20
>who were ordered to apologize to the community.
>Dar said that in another incident, a former=20
>municipality representative from Shas publicly=20
>denounced the Masorti movement during a=20
>discussion on land allocation for the Yedid Nefesh synagogue.
>"But in general, the municipality and citizens=20
>here are very accepting of us. We never receive=20
>bad feelings from anyone," he said.
>Attorney Yizhar Hess, executive director and CEO=20
>of the Masorti Movement in Israel, said in=20
>response, "We are surprised and shocked by the=20
>attempt to damage the synagogue because Modi'in=20
>and the municipality is pluralistic, open and=20
>accepting and open to all three streams of Judaism.
>"It is difficult to tell whether this was a=20
>religiously motivated attack or pointless=20
>vandalism but we hope that this is a one-time=20
>incident that will not repeat itself," he said.
>This was not the first arson attack on a Masorti=20
>synagogue. On a Saturday night in June 2000,=20
>arsonists threw Molotov cocktails into one in=20
>the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot, setting=20
>fire to the building's interior and causing thousands of dollars of damage.
>The firebombing had been preceded by an attempt=20
>a few weeks before to burn the front door of the same synagogue.