Leeds University hate crime inquiry over graffiti on Jewish building

imageGoogle Hillel House at the University of LeedsGoogle
Vandals targeted Hillel House at the University of Leeds

Police have launched a hate crime inquiry after “Free Palestine” graffiti appeared on a building for Jewish students at the University of Leeds.

The graffiti at Hillel House on Springfield Mount was reported just after 07:00 GMT on Friday, West Yorkshire Police said.

The Union of Jewish Students said it was “heartbroken and angry” at the vandalism, while the university said it was supporting the investigation.

Police have appealed for information.

The union said in a statement the vandalism had come after the “uplifting and inspiring” baking of the Challah – the traditional braided bread eaten on the Jewish sabbath and members were “heartbroken and angry” at what had happened.

“For nearly 70 years the Hillel House has stood as a place of safety and community for Jewish students in Leeds, untouched by such despicable behaviour,” it added.

‘Deeply affected’

A spokesperson for the University of Leeds said: “We are deeply saddened that our Jewish community has been targeted by this criminal act.

“The university takes incidents of this nature extremely seriously and the safety and welfare of our students and staff is our number one priority.

“We recognise that students and staff across our community have been deeply affected by the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza, and will continue to provide support across our campus.

“We are working with West Yorkshire Police and the property owners as they investigate this incident.”

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said the incident was “deeply concerning”, adding: “Hate has no place in West Yorkshire.”

Insp Richard Armstead of West Yorkshire Police added: “I know that this incident will cause concern for university students and members of the wider Jewish community, and I want to reassure them that this kind of hate will not be tolerated. “

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