In the midst of the escalating situation in Israel, pro-Palestine graffiti was found spray painted in red on the white marble walls of the Montefiore Orthodox Synagogue in the Highlands in Lowell this week. The words “Free Palestine” and “God Bless Gaza” were found spray painted on the walls, as reported to the synagogue by a local parishioner on Wednesday afternoon.

House Committee Chairman Jim Mitchneck, who has lead services there for 14 years and attended since 1982, has been working to cover the graffiti. He reported that while the synagogue has not received any related threats, he is still concerned, and members have requested an increase in police presence.

The Anti-Defamation League of New England has been informed of the incident and told The Sun Thursday the agency has been pleased with Lowell police responding appropriately by launching an investigation immediately.

“This is the first report of a synagogue being subjected to this type of graffiti (locally)…,” said Anti-Defamation Regional Director Robert Trestan. “People who want to intimidate and spread messages of hate often target places of worship. … In this case, it’s a very public display and, by the nature of the graffiti, and the size of the graffiti and location, it was done to create attention, to send a message.”

Read the full article from The Lowell Sun.