The European Union’s diplomatic mission in Israel was vandalized Sunday with graffiti railing against the bloc and its largest member state, in an attack claimed by a right-wing anti-immigration activist.
The graffiti at the entrance to the EU offices in Ramat Gan read “German money kills Jews” and “EU get out.”
Video clips showed Sheffi Paz, an anti-immigration activist in south Tel Aviv, and Merav Hajaj, the bereaved mother of a slain policewoman in a 2017 truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem, were behind the vandalism.
Paz, in footage aired by Hebrew media and apparently filmed by an accomplice, stands in front of the graffiti and says: “Stop subsidizing terrorists, stop financing illegal immigration and get out of Israel.”
תיעוד בלעדי שהבאנו אני ומשה נוסבאום במהדורה: שפי פז והאם השכולה מרב חג'אג' משחיתות את שגרירות האיחוד האירופי. התיעוד המלא באתר @NewsChannelIL pic.twitter.com/Lm5yh7ZkhB
— Yaron Avraham ירון אברהם (@yaronavraham) September 15, 2019
The Israel Police said it opened an investigation into the vandalism and said it was working to catch the perpetrators. It did not say whether Paz or Hajaj were under arrest.
After the vandalism, Paz tweeted a photograph of the pair eating dinner, writing online that they would soon turn themselves in for questioning at a local police station.
The EU mission said no one was present at the offices when the vandalism occurred, as they are closed on Sundays.
“This incident aiming to intimidate the EU and its personnel is deplorable and should be condemned,” it said in a statement.
It also said it was in touch with law enforcement and the Foreign Ministry to “ensure that adequate security measures are taken.”
Emanuele Giaufret, the EU ambassador to Israel, called for the vandalism to be condemned.
“We will continue to do our job,” he wrote on Twitter.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the graffiti and said he was “appalled” by it.
“I am appalled by and condemn the disgraceful vandalism of the EU Mission in Israel. Israel is committed to maintaining the security of all diplomatic missions,” wrote Katz, a member of the ruling Likud party.
“The Israeli police are investigating the case, and I expect the culprits will be swiftly brought to justice,” added the foreign minister.
Blue and White MK Yair Lapid tweeted that he spoke with Giaufret following the vandalism, telling him that all Israelis “strongly condemn all types of attacks and violence.”
It was not entirely clear what the graffiti was referring to, but the EU and its member states have been regularly criticized in recent years by right-wing figures and groups in Israel for their donations to left-wing NGOs, as well as their stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran nuclear deal.
Paz is a vocal opponent of illegal immigrants in Israel, particularly in south Tel Aviv. She has met in the past with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top ministers on the issue.