Mosque defacement
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Eli Ashkenazi
Graffiti in Jish, reading: "Only goys [non-Jews] should be driven away from our land." April 3, 2014 Photo by Eli Ashkenazi

Vandals sprayed anti-Arab graffiti and tried to set alight the door of a mosque in the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm overnight Thursday.

The phrase "Arabs out" was sprayed on the wall of the Araq al-Shabab mosque, and the arson attempt caused light damage to the property.

The vandals were caught on film by private cameras in the area. The footage shows two people setting something alight and then driving away in a white vehicle.

Umm al-Fahm residents discovered the vandalism when they arrived at the mosque for Friday morning prayers and alerted police.

The mosque's imam, Jamil Mahajana, said that the video footage of the vandals indicates the incident took place at around 3:00 A.M. "This is a nasty and vile act, and doing harm to holy places crosses all red lines."

Police are investigating the incident, which is the fourth of its kind in northern Israel this month, according to Channel 10. Police suspect the incident is a 'price tag' attack. This term was originally used to refer to acts of vengeance on Palestinians by settlers in the West Bank in response to curbs of settlement construction and other Israeli policies. Today, however, it is often used in Israel to refer to any anti-Arab vandalism.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said on Friday, "This is an escalation and a crossing of red lines, and the police and security services must treat these incidents and vandals as terror incidents."

Earlier this month, some 40 cars had their tires slashed and anti-Arab graffiti was sprayed on walls in an Arab town in the northern Israeli town of Jish, near Safed, known in Hebrew as Gush Halav.

“Only goys [non-Jews] will be driven out of our land” was among the graffiti sprayed by the vandals.