By 3 News online staff and Adam Hollingworth
A Jewish cemetery in Auckland has been desecrated overnight with swastikas and anti-Semitic statements scrawled across the gravestones.
More than 20 graves were attacked at the Karangahape Road cemetery. Graffiti on one grave reads “don't f*** with us”, and another says, “f*** Israel”.
The attack is thought to have occurred overnight.
The President of the New Zealand Jewish Council, Stephen Goodman, told 3 News the cemetery had been targeted before, but this was a severe case.
“It’s usually wanton vandalism but this is a different case,” he says.
A spokesperson for the Auckland Council says the offensive graffiti will be cleaned up this afternoon.
The council hopes security cameras operating at the cemetery will help catch those responsible, and police have called an investigation into the vandalism and are appealing for information.
Jewish graves in Makara and Whanganui were targeted nine years ago, and the graves in Auckland have also been damaged before, but previous cases were put down to simple vandalism.
The Jewish Council wants better security immediately – a move that may scupper the local board's previous plans to tidy and open up the whole cemetery.
Shale Chambers, chair of the Waitemata board, says the issue will be reviewed.
“Another view is to close it off and to put fences around and this will obviously lead to a review of what's the most appropriate way to go, especially for the Jewish quarter section.”
No-one has claimed responsibility, but the attack did happen on the eve of a day the extremist National Front call ‘Flag Day’, when they plan to march to Parliament.