After trying to block the sealing of a 50-foot tunnel under a historic synagogue in Brooklyn, at least 12 Jewish students were detained.
Secret tunnel under Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, was uncovered Monday. A popular video shows police removing dirty youngsters' mattresses from the tunnel. In other films, children's items litter the tunnel, leading many social media users to infer child sex trafficking.
Tunnel sealers faced severe resistance in one footage.
According to the Daily Mail, police arrived to find a gang of people breaking into 770 Eastern Parkway by destroying a wall. It is known that several people were arrested. Charges pending. No one was hurt.”
It's unclear when or why the tunnel was built. The Forward says the tunnel was discovered in December 2023.
During tunnel filling, scores of Jewish men fought police and workmen, resulting in several arrests this week. Chairman Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky labeled it “vandalism” by “a group of young agitators.”
“The Chabad-Lubavitch community is saddened by a group of young agitators who vandalized the synagogue below Chabad Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway Monday night,” the statement said.
“These odious actions will be investigated and the synagogue sanctified. Many thanks to the NYPD for their professionalism and compassion. The outpouring of concern and support from Chabad-Lubavitch organizations worldwide is appreciated.”
Police were “gentle” with unruly students, according to social media users.
One X/Twitter user said, “Amazing how gentle the NY cops are with these guys. Moving carefully, fixing headgear, raising tarps. Female officer was staring off into space.”
“Baby high chairs, strollers and kids sized mattresses,” said another. Children and newborns were housed there. Why?”
Chabad's Director of Media, Motti Seligson, also commented on the arrests.
Some time ago, extreme students cut through a few walls of adjacent houses to the synagogue at 784-788 Eastern Parkway to get unlawful entry, Seligson said. “A cement truck repaired those walls earlier today. Extremists burst through the synagogue wall and vandalized the sanctuary to maintain their illicit entrance.