Vandals sprayed graffiti on a mosque in northern Israel in an attack blamed on a fringe group of Jewish extremists, police said Tuesday.
A Star of David was found spray-painted on the walls of the mosque in the Arab town of Fureidis, along with a slogan reading “close mosques and not yeshivas,” likely a reference to the recent seizure by the Border Police of a yeshiva — a center of Jewish learning — in the West Bank settlement of Yizhar.
The tires of at least 20 vehicles were also found to have been slashed, and a security camera at the mosque recorded three men in hoodies walking around the mosque the previous evening, Ynet News reported.
Hundreds of Fureidis residents gathered in the street outside the vandalized mosque Tuesday morning, and a general strike in the town was called for the following day.
Yoseff Meree, head of the Fureidis council, told Ynet that “there is no one to stop the suspects” and called on the police to urgently seek out the perpetrators, “before they continue vandalizing mosques and property.”
The incident was “very serious,” he said, and said that Israel’s Arab community “didn’t think to stoop to that level and we didn’t think of vandalizing places holy to the Jewish sector.”
The police said the Tuesday morning attack appears to be the latest “price tag” incident. The phrase is used by a small group of Jewish extremists to protest what they perceive as the Israeli government’s pro-Palestinian policies.
Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by vandals in recent years. The acts have been condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.
Investigation opened in pharadis in north. Graffiti found on walls of mosque & damage to vehicles nearby. Police searching for suspects.
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) April 29, 2014