Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch is set to visit Monday several sites in Yokne’am which were recently subject to “price tag” attacks. The minister is also expected to hold a meeting with the mayor of Yokneam in order to discuss the recent surge in instances of hate crime across the city.
Aharonovitch will later visit a mosque in Umm al-Fahm which was recently vandalized and whose doors were set on fire in another suspected “price tag” attack, NRG news site reported.
“Price tag” refers to vandalism and other hate crimes usually carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists in retaliation for government policies against the settler movement. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by nationalist vandals in recent years. The acts have been condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Friday morning blasted the recent spate of attacks, saying: “There is a hardcore, ideological group, based in Judea and Samaria, in certain settlements, who want to prevent us from living here in any reasonable way.”
Overnight Thursday-Friday, the Rumanian Orthodox Church on Hahoma Hashlishit street in Jerusalem was defaced, in a suspected “price tag” hate crime attack.
The words “price tag,” “Jesus is garbage” and “King David for the Jews,” were found spray-painted on the site’s walls.
On Thursday, vehicles and a dumpster in the central Israeli town of Lod were found to have been spray-painted with swastikas.
Police said they were opening an investigation into the Lod incident. According to a law enforcement source cited by the Walla website, authorities believe that the swastikas may have been painted as a prank by a group of children, but gave no further details.
On Wednesday, police said they were investigating an act of racist vandalism in Yokne’am after a Druze dentist reported that the walls of his office had been spray-painted with racist slogans.
The graffiti read “Death to Arabs” and “price tag.” The police did not initially identify any suspects.
It was the second attack in three weeks targeting the office of Dr. Khatem Hatar, who hails from the Mas’ade village in the Golan Heights. In the previous incident, vandals spray-painted the words “price tag” and a Star of David on the walls. Police have not made any arrests or identified any suspects in connection with the first attack.
Also on Wednesday, the Roman Catholic Church demanded Israeli action after suspected Jewish extremists daubed hate graffiti on Vatican-owned offices in East Jerusalem just two weeks before a papal visit.
Hebrew-language graffiti, reading “Death to Arabs and Christians and those who hate Israel,” was daubed over offices of the Assembly of Bishops at the Notre Dame center, a Vatican-owned complex opposite the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, on Monday, the Roman Catholic Church said.
On Tuesday, the gravesite of a 2nd-century rabbi was vandalized in northern Israel with swastikas spray-painted onto its dome, police said, in an apparent reprisal for recent hate crimes against Muslim places of worship.
The words “Tag will pay a price” were found on the defaced grace of Rabbi Abba Halafta, seemingly in reference to the perpetrators of recent price tag attacks against Muslims in the north.
On Saturday, a memorial garden for 16 soldiers at a high school in Beersheba was vandalized ahead of Israel’s Memorial Day. Police were investigating the incident.
AFP contributed to this report.