A group of Jewish Students were arrested when they attempted to stop the police from filling a tunnel dug under a historic Synagogue located in Brooklyn, New York.
Officials were alerted to the existence of a tunnel leading to the Chabad-Lubavitch World headquarters in Crown Heights.
Motti Seligson, a spokesperson for Chabad, said that “a group of extremist students” dug the underground tunnel to try to extend the synagogue into a row of office buildings nearby.
Nine young men were arrested by police after a riot broke out when students refused to leave the tunnel for police to fill it up with cement.
Video footage shows people pushing police officers and throwing furniture around.
Nine men were accused of criminal mischief and reckless harm. All nine men were aged between 19 and 21.
The religious group released a press release thanking the NYPD for their efforts and accusing “agitators” of the tunnel.
The statement read: “The Chabad and Lubavitch communities are deeply hurt by the vandalism committed by a group of young agitators on Monday night, who destroyed the synagogue located below the Chabad Headquarters in 770 Eastern Parkway.”
They added, “These odious acts will be investigated and the sanctity of the synagogue shall be restored.” We thank the NYPD’s professionalism and sensitivity. We appreciate the concern expressed and the support from our Chabad-Lubavitch organizations around the globe.
The spokesperson for the New York City Fire Department, Amanda Farinacci, said that a team of fire prevention experts did not detect the tunnel when they examined the synagogue in December.
The synagogue claims that it has tried to take control of the building through the New York courts, but its efforts have been dragging on for many years.
The synagogue was closed on Tuesday to allow officials to assess whether the tunnel had compromised the integrity of the famous building. While the synagogue was closed, worshippers prayed in the rain.
Baruch Dahan said, “The community is in a terrible state of mind,” a student at the synagogue. It’s a shame, they didn’t expand, but destroyed.
Social media was flooded with viral memes after the news broke of the Jewish tunnels under the streets of New York City.
You can watch the video below: