Police arrest hate crime suspects in Yitzhar

Two men from West Bank settlement held for ‘price tag’ attacks; third suspect in custody for inciting violence against IDF troops

The entrance to the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. (Flash90/File)
The entrance to the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. (Flash90/File)

Israeli police said they arrested two men from a hardline West Bank settlement Tuesday on suspicion of carrying out hate crimes and a third for condoning violence against soldiers.

“Two people from Yitzhar were arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation into suspicions of criminal activity of a nationalistic nature,” spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, adding that a court order barred him from giving further details.

Israeli public radio said the young men were suspected of taking part in “price tag” attacks — hate crimes by Jewish extremists that mostly target Palestinian and Arab property, but have also included attacks on other non-Jews as well as left-wing Israelis and the security forces.

Rosenfeld said a third Yitzhar resident was arrested for inciting violence against Israeli troops after allegedly posting a statement online which defended harming soldiers involved in anti-settlement operations.

Yitzhar is a bastion of Jewish extremists in the northern West Bank where there is a seminary run by Yitzhak Ginsburg, an American-born rabbi known for authoring a book condoning the killing of non-Jews.

Another two Yitzhar residents were arrested on Sunday on suspicion of slashing the tires of around 40 cars in a predominantly Christian Arab village in northern Israel last month. At the scene, Hebrew graffiti read: “Only Gentiles should be removed from our land.”

Attacks on Christian targets increased in the run-up to a brief visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories by Pope Francis, which ended on Monday.

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