A newly refurbished Jewish deli and bakery has been targeted in an arson attack in Manchester just days before its grand opening. The owners, who captured the attack on CCTV, say “Asian youths” may have been involved in the incident.
Two men were filmed breaking into the deli by smashing through the glass front door and dousing the fittings and floor with petrol before setting the fire from the bathroom. According to the time code on the footage, the attack took place at 11.15 on Friday night, as the Jewish owners, Amos and Martine Vaisman, were celebrating Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath.
In what the Vaisman’s are describing as a ‘miracle’, the premises suffered little damage despite being engulfed in flames.
Posting footage of the attack to Facebook, Mr Vaisman said: “We have clear footage of the criminals involved and additional footage of them sending a group of Asian boys to go and buy petrol from the local garage. We hope to find out very soon who is behind such an evil disgusting criminal act with constant information seeping through.”
In a message aimed at the attackers, he added: “Your attempts to inflict destruction failed. Good has overcome evil.
“WE HOPE to be ready to open to trade tomorrow.”
The Weismans had just completed a £100,000 refurbishment of the premises and were due to hold the grand opening of the new deli on Monday, taking out a large advert in a local paper to promote the event.
Martine Vaizman told the Manchester Evening News: “It is a miracle there wasn’t more damage done.
“We were observing Shabbat and so our phones were off. When my husband Amos turned his back on we got a notification telling us that the alarm had gone off.
“When we got to the restaurant we couldn’t work out what had happened, but then we looked at the CCTV. It is horrific, we have no idea who could have done this.
“The fire has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and we don’t know when we’re going to be able to relaunch now. We just spent months and months getting set for the new opening – we’ve redeveloped the whole building. It’s just awful.
“We don’t know if they are going to strike again or what’s going to happen. I just hope that whoever did this is caught as soon as possible.”
The CCTV footage has been passed to Manchester Police, who have confirmed that they have launched an investigation into the attack. CCTV footage from around the location is also being collected and reviewed.
The attack comes amid heightened concerns of anti-Semitism thanks in part to a number of prominent Labour Party figures having been suspended from the party in recent weeks over allegations of anti-Semitism. The party is holding an independent inquiry into anti-Semitism within its ranks.
According to the Community Security Trust, a Jewish organisation which monitors anti-Semitism, a quarter of all anti-Semitic attacks in 2015 took place in Manchester, home to Britain’s second largest Jewish community.
Separate research by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism found that: “2015 saw the most anti-Semitic crime ever recorded in Britain, with a 26 percent rise in anti-Semitic crime and a 51 percent leap in violence against Jews, but a reduction in the number of anti-Semites charged by police.”