Unidentified assailants on Friday vandalized a mosque in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm, torching the front door of the house of worship and spray-painting a racist invective on its wall.
“Arabs out” was written on the wall of the Araq al-Shabab mosque in what was described in the Israeli media as a suspected Price Tag attack. The fire lit under the door caused light damage to the building.
Hundreds of worshippers from Umm al-Fahm arrived at the mosque for Friday prayers and found the graffiti. They notified the police, who arrived at the scene. Local police launched an investigation into the attack, the fourth of its kind in northern Israel in the past month, Channel 10 reported.
“Incidents like these only aim to harm relations between Arabs and Jews,” Jamil Mahajaneh, imam of the mosque, was quoted by Ynet as saying. “We demand the criminals be arrested.”
Friday morning’s attack was the latest in a rash of vandalism and violence targeting Arabs in Israel and the West Bank. Earlier this month, dozens of tires were slashed on at least 15 cars in the Arab village of Jish in the Upper Galilee, and graffiti was scrawled on a wall, reading, “Only non-Jews [should be] removed from our land.”
In March, 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.
“Price Tag” is a term used to describe acts of vandalism and violence associated with the settler movement in retaliation for Palestinian attacks and 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 in such assaults.