(JTA) – Anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on buildings in two cities in Bosnia where members of the Jewish community live.
Jewish leaders in Bosnia expressed concern over the incidents in Sarajevo and Tuzla, which were discovered on Thursday night, according to local reports. The graffiti included swastikas and the word Juden, the Inside Sarajevo news website reported.
“We received this news with regret and bitterness, aware that these incidents will not violate the good neighborly relations that Bosnian Jews have built with their fellow citizens from other ethnic and religious groups. We appeal to the competent authorities to identify and punish the perpetrators,” the Jewish community said in a statement on Friday.
Sarajevo Mayor Abdulah Skaka in a statement condemned the incidents. “Sarajevo citizens have cherished cultural diversity for decades. Respect for different faiths has protected Sarajevo in the most difficult times. I am convinced that a majority of Sarajevo citizens will never condone such actions, no matter their ethnic or religious affiliation. I call on the authorities to identify the culprits, sanction them and inform the public about that,” Skaka said.
“Sarajevans have been nourishing the wealth of different cultures for decades, and the inter-religious respect has been preserved in Sarajevo even in the most difficult times and we are convinced that … these acts will never be welcome in this city,” the Sarajevo city council said in a statement.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina is historically one of the safest and most welcoming countries for Jews, generally free from anti-Semitism and rich in close relations between citizens of all faiths and backgrounds,” World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said in a statement. “During my visit there last year and meeting with Prime Minister Fadil Novalić initiated by the President of the Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassador Jakob Finci, I was struck by the warmth experienced by the community in an overwhelmingly Muslim country, and grateful for the government’s dedication to preserving Jewish heritage, including the hundreds-year old Sarajevo Haggadah.”
There are about 1,000 Jews living in Bosnia.