Anti-Israel Vandals At Brown Destroy Religious Structure

Vandals destroyed a Jewish ceremonial structure on the Brown University campus early yesterday morning, champing pro-Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) pamphlets amid the broken glass and wood.

Brown Hillel's holiday succath, a tent-like structure built by Jews every year as part of the fall holiday of Succoth, was destroyed by vandals early Friday morning or late Thursday night, Hillel director Howard Winneman said yesterday.

Winneman said the attack, which occurred between 9:30 p.m. Thursday and early Friday morning, left the succah with its sides cut, its bamboo roof broken, and littered with broken glass and bottles.

Samuel Schlevin, president of the Rhode Island chapter of the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai Brith, said, "We are taking necessary action and precaution."

He added that his group was launching an investigation both with private detectives and with the Providence Police.

With the Jewish holiday of Succoth beginning this evening and lasting for eight days, the Jewish community of Providence is taking precautionary measures, Schlevin said. "We have special police protection for Jewish buildings and certain homes during the holidays for the next three weeks," he said, adding that "Greater Providence area synagogues are receiving special police protection."

Schlevin attributed the act of vandalism, which he said was the first attack on Jewish property in Providence in years, to a combination of anti-Israeli feeling due to the Lebanon invasion and domestic economic problems. "This would all disappear if the economy took an upturn," he added.