Hate crimes against Arabs constitute terrorism, says vice prime minister

Moshe Ya’alon calls on elected officials to unite against violence

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (photo credit: Yehoshua Yosef/Flash90)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (photo credit: Yehoshua Yosef/Flash90)

The hate crimes carried out against Arabs over the weekend are “unbearable, aggravating and should be dealt with firmly,” Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Sunday morning. The state must do all it can to stop such incidents in the future, the minister of strategic affairs added.

Ya’alon was referring to two attacks by Jews on Arabs that took place late last week. On Thursday, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Palestinian taxi, injuring six family members near the settlement of Bat Ayin in the West Bank. On Friday, an Arab was attacked and badly hurt by a mob of Jewish youths in downtown Jerusalem. One suspect was arrested.

Such attacks “are acts of terror that go against Jewish values and morals and display an educational and moral failure,” Ya’alon said. The state must combat such behavior with all the means at its disposal, he added.

Ya’alon stressed it was the responsibility of public officials “to stand united against such despicable actions, and to act against the perpetrators and those who send them.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said on Sunday that it was important to maintain order in the capital. The “sane majority” must “confront all violence, verbal and physical,” Barkat said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a message to PA President Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in which he said he saw the Bat Ayin attack as “very serious” and committed himself to finding the perpetrators. Netanyahu added that he would keep himself informed of the condition of those who were injured and offered to extend additional assistance as necessary.

Both the US State Department and the Anti-Defamation League condemned the Thursday attack.

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