JERUSALEM Vandals spray-painted anti-Zionist slogans at Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and police said on Monday they suspect radical ultra-Orthodox Jews opposed to Israel's existence were responsible.
"Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust," one slogan read.
Some of the graffiti, all written in Hebrew and daubed overnight on outside walls, accused Israel's founders of secretly encouraging the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War Two to hasten the creation, in 1948, of the Jewish state.
"The Zionists wanted the Holocaust," said another slogan.
Many ultra-Orthodox Jews regard modern-day Israel as an abomination, believing the establishment of the Jewish state must await the coming of the Messiah.
Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem, said he was "shocked and dazed by this callous expression of burning hatred against the Zionists and Zionism."
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said investigators were working on the assumption the vandals were "members of the extreme ultra-religious community".
Yad Vashem, a museum and memorial, was established on a Jerusalem hilltop in 1953 and is often visited by foreign leaders who lay wreaths in its stark Hall of Remembrance.
(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan, Editing by Jeffrey Heller)