The owners of a kosher restaurant in Manchester said on Tuesday that they will not be discouraged by the recent arson attack against their eatery, which police are investigating.
Amos and Martine Vaisman, owners of Ta’am Grill and Restaurant, said on Facebook that they “worked against the odds” and are “delighted” to announce their restaurant’s grand opening on Wednesday. They added, “We want singing and dancing and lots of enjoyment.”
The Vaizmans planned the grand opening of their restaurant’s new location in Prestwich — a town in Manchester that has a large Jewish community — for Monday. They even placed a full-page ad in a local paper to promote the event. But that was before their establishment was engulfed in flames on Friday night.
Surveillance video footage shows two men inside the restaurant pouring liquid everywhere. A ball of fire then erupts all around the Bury New Road restaurant, followed by an explosion.
Manchester Police received the surveillance footage and confirmed that they have launched an investigation into the attack. Surveillance footage from around the area is also being collected and reviewed, according to Breitbart. A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said the two offenders gained entry into the restaurant by breaking a window and that they used gasoline to set fire to the cooking surface, which caused intense damage to the entire restaurant.
“Officers have conducted extensive enquiries and the investigation remains ongoing,” the spokesperson said. “Police are keen to speak to anybody who was in the area on Friday and saw anything suspicious.”
The restaurant owners posted footage of the attack on Facebook and said Asian youngsters may have been involved in the crime, which they believe was “an attempt to maliciously close us.”
“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,” they said. “We hope to find out very soon who is behind such an evil disgusting criminal act with constant information seeping through.”
Addressing the attackers, they added: “Your attempts to inflict destruction failed. Good has overcome evil.”
Martine Vaizman, who was born in Israel, told the Manchester Evening News that she was at home with her husband observing Shabbat when the attack took place. After the Jewish day of rest ended, her husband turned on his phone and got a notification that the alarm at the restaurant had gone off.
“When we got to the restaurant we couldn’t work out what had happened, but then we looked at the CCTV [footage]. It is horrific, we have no idea who could have done this,” she said. “The fire has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage…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.”
Martine said she believes “multiple miracles” stopped the fire from causing more damage than it did, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
“It went out by itself, which is a miracle, and thank god the fire engines didn’t come out, because the place would’ve been covered in water and we would have had water damage,” she explained. “It’s insane. There’s a huge gas line in there; it could’ve blown up the neighborhood.”
The Vaismans expressed their gratitude to the local community by posting on Facebook:
Thanks so so much to everyone that has passed on their messages of love and support to us. We’re absolutely devastated but SO grateful and feeling so blessed for what has happened and just cannot thank you all enough. Knowing we have such tremendous support…Well there’s no words really just gratitude to each and every one of you. We may be down but we won’t be beaten.
Detective Inspector Jonathan Kelly said though he is “keeping an open mind on the possible motivation for this incident,” there is no evidence to suggest that race had anything to do with it.
“The offenders appear to have gone to great lengths to do what they did and the owners were extremely lucky that more damage was not caused,” he said, according to The Jewish Chronicle. “We are trying to establish the movements of the two offenders before and after the incident. Police patrols have been increased in the area and the victim has been given crime prevention advice.”
Martine said she originally though the crime could be an antisemitic attack, but has since reconsidered the notion because “there’s no evidence of that.”
“We’ve never had hate mail; everyone’s always been supportive,” she said. “We don’t have enemies, but maybe someone didn’t want this shop to open. I don’t think it’s about our Judaism or because I’m Israeli.”
Watch the surveillance video of the arson attack below:
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal