Seven Jewish minors were arrested on suspicion of involvement in racist acts and vandalism, police said Monday.
Four of the minors, aged 13 to 15, are suspected of spraying racist graffiti at a construction site near an Arab village west of Jerusalem on Sunday, spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
Another three were arrested near Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday for spitting at a priest. In their bags, police found Israeli flags with Hebrew slogans on them, including the words “revenge” and “price tag,” Samri said.
“Price tag” is the euphemism for nationally and racially motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists which predominantly target Palestinian and Arab property, but have also included attacks on other non-Jews as well as left-wing Israelis or security forces.
Such attacks tend to involve vandalism and trademark racist graffiti in Hebrew.
All seven suspects were to be brought before a judge on Monday to extend their remand in custody, Samri said.
On Sunday, a Jerusalem court extended by three days the detention of a man from the settlement of Yitzhar who was arrested last week along with his wife over an arson attack on an Israeli mosque last month, public radio said.
“Price tag” attacks began sporadically several years ago with West Bank settlers seeking to exact a “price” for state moves against settlements.
But since then, they have spread, with acts of nationalistically inspired vandalism now an almost daily occurrence, heaping pressure on the authorities to act.
Despite hundreds of arrests, hardly anyone has been prosecuted.
Last week, the US State Department for the first time included mention of “price tag” attacks in its global report on terror, saying such incidents went “largely un-prosecuted.”
On Sunday, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she would back the idea of defining such acts as “terrorism.”