Unionist politicians have complained of anti-Semitism and intolerance after an historic blue plaque marking the Belfast birthplace in 1918 of former Israeli president Chaim Herzog was removed to prevent vandalism.
Belfast DUP councillor Brian Kingston said he was shocked that the plaque at Cliftonpark Avenue, which was erected in 1998 in honour of Chaim Herzog, had to be removed.
"The Ulster History Circle and the community group occupying the building agreed last week that due to an upsurge in attacks against the plaque and the building it was necessary to remove the plaque for the foreseeable future," he said.
“Attacks have included the scrawling of anti-Israeli graffiti on the building and items being thrown at the plaque and the house. Recently some youths were stopped in the process of trying to remove the plaque with a crowbar,” he added.
"This is a shocking indication of the level of tension and anti-Semitism which currently exists in parts of Belfast. It is disgraceful that this item of Belfast history has being repeatedly targeted due to its connection with Israel. This should serve as a wake-up call for the public to the dangerous level of intolerance and the anti-Israeli mentality which some are encouraging."
Ulster Unionist Party west Belfast spokesman Bill Manwaring said the forced removal of the plaque was a "damning indictment of the intolerance within some elements of our society".
“Given the attack on the synagogue (in Belfast) last month and now this, it shows that some people’s hearts and minds remain full of hatred,” he added.