The residents of the Arab village of Jish awoke Thursday to the scene of the latest racist attack by suspected Jewish extremists.
Dozens of tires were slashed on at least 15 cars in the town and graffiti was scrawled on a wall, reading, “Only non-Jews [should be] removed from our land,” police said.
Some 40 cars were damaged, according to the head of the local regional council.
“Officers of the Safed police, aided by trackers and additional forces, are on the scene and have launched an investigation,” the Israel Police said in a statement.
Safed is the closest large city to the Upper Galilee village, known as Gush Halav in Hebrew, lying some 13 kilometers (8 miles) to its south.
The incident marks the latest in a series of racist vandalism and even physical violence targeting Arab villages and towns throughout Israel and the West Bank. In the last two weeks, a monastery near Beit Shemesh was defaced with graffiti and nearby vehicles were vandalized, attackers attempted to set fire to an Arab-owned shop in Jerusalem and damaged nearby cars, the tires of 34 cars were slashed and racist graffiti was scrawled on a bus parked in the northeastern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina, and 19 cars were vandalized in the predominantly Arab Israeli town of Jaljulia, among other incidents.
The spate of attacks has led to criticism of police and other law enforcement authorities for failing to stem the phenomenon.
The police promised on Thursday to find the culprits of the latest attack. Maj. Gen. Zohar Dvir, commander of the Israel Police’s northern district, called the attack “a criminal, despicable phenomenon,” and insisted on Thursday that “any attempt by extremist parties to break the law will be answered with immediate, determined and uncompromising law enforcement operations,” the Nana10 news site reported.
Elias Elias, head of the Gush Halav Regional Council, told the Galilee radio station Kol Rega, “It’s a bad feeling, the first time something like this has happened in Gush Halav. At least 40 cars with ‘price tag’ damage. It’s an unpleasant situation.”
The Arab town of some 3,000 is two-thirds Christian and about one-third Muslim.