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Northern Arab town targeted by vandals in apparent hate crime

Houses defaced and cars damaged in Jisr az-Zarqa, which suffered a similar attack in 2019

The Arab village of Jisr az-Zarka in northern Israel. (Photo credit: Golf Bravo/Wikimedia)
The Arab village of Jisr az-Zarka in northern Israel. (Photo credit: Golf Bravo/Wikimedia)

Residents of the northern coastal town of Jisr az-Zarqa woke up on Monday morning to find their town had been vandalized in an apparent hate crime.

Houses in the southernmost neighborhood of the town were graffitied with inscriptions such as “Jews, wake up” alongside the Star of David. Additionally, 17 cars were damaged in the incident.

Cases of vandalism against Palestinians and Arab-Israelis are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks, with perpetrators claiming they are retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.

A police spokesperson said investigators were collecting testimony and evidence from the scene.

“We strongly condemn the act and ask the police and security forces to apprehend these racists, who are causing heavy damage,” Sheikh Murad Amash, head of the Jisr az-Zarqa local council, told Walla news.

Sami Ali, chairman of the People’s Committee of Jisr az-Zarqa, a local organization, contended that the damage was greater than that initially reported. “We are talking about 35 vehicles [that were damaged],” Ali told Walla, and that there was damage in a number of places across the southern neighborhood adjacent to Caesarea.

The grassroots Israeli organization Tag Meir, which works against hate crimes and religious racism, strongly condemned the attack in a post on Facebook. “This morning Arab Israeli residents of the coastal village of Jisr az-Zarqa awoke to find that Jewish extremists had vandalized cars and buildings overnight. We call upon the Israeli police to protect Israeli citizens from these attacks!” the group said.

Israel’s only coastal Arab town last suffered a similar incident in 2019. Tires were slashed on 21 vehicles, police said in a statement, and graffiti was daubed on a wall in reference to a West Bank settlement where Israeli authorities had torn down several illegal structures a week before.

Hate crime graffiti found in the northern Arab Israeli town of Jisr az-Zarka, July 31, 2019. (Israel Police)

Since March, Israel has witnessed a deadly wave of terror that has claimed the lives of 19 people. Alongside the spate of terror attacks, there has been a rise in price tag attacks, in both the West Bank and inside Israel.

At the beginning of the year, before the recent wave of terror, Israeli security officials noted that violence by Jewish extremists in the West Bank had spiked in 2021.

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