Police Arrest 19-year-old Suspect in Haifa Sukkah Arson Case

Haifa police on Thursday arrested a local 19-year-old man suspected of burning down a sukkah built next to a Haifa synagogue and drawing a swastika on the site overnight Sunday.

The man is also suspected of assaulting women in the Mahane David neighborhood, where he resides, and other vandalism.

The suspect will be brought before a court for the extension of his remand on Monday.

Haifa Police Chief Dudu Ben-Atia said yesterday that police suspect the vandalism was carried out by a neo-Nazi cell in Haifa, although he added that these suspicions have not yet been confirmed and that the incident may have been a prank. He said police are investigating all leads, including the possibility it was a group "seeking attention."

Anti-Semitic graffiti has been found in various locations in Haifa in recent weeks. No arrests have been made in the other incidents. In one case, vandals painted a swastika in the stairwell of an apartment building, and on another occasion shouted "Heil Hitler" at a woman on the street.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in Israel today strongly condemned the act, calling it "an awful hate crime."