Mosque Vandalized, Cars Torched in Suspected 'Price Tag' Attack

Vandals claim to be avenging Eviatar Borovsky, who was stabbed last month by a Palestinian; in separate incident, racist slogans sprayed on door of Arab students' apartment.

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Vandals spray-painted Hebrew slogans and a Star of David on the wall of a mosque in Wadi Ara on Tuesday and set fire to three cars that were nearby in a suspected "price tag" attack.

The mosque, located in the Menashe Regional Council village of Um El-Kutuf, was sprayed with the words "price tag" and another slogan spelling out the Hebrew letters ayin, lamed, nun followed by the word "Eviatar", which may be a reference to Eviatar Borovsky, a father of five from the settlement of Yitzhar who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian at Tapuah Junction near Nablus on April 30.

Suhil Kab'ha, chairman of the village's local council, said this was the first time the village has been subject to such an incident, and urged police to "swiftly indict the perpetrators."

Police said the investigation into the arson attack will take various directions, but, due to the slogan that was sprawled nearby, the assumption is that it was a hate crime. No arrests have as yet been carried out.

Ilan Sadeh, head of the Menashe Regional Council, described the incident as a "criminal act," but said it would "fail to damage the unique fabric of life in our area, where Jews, Arabs, religious and secular populations co-exist in peace".

Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka, who arrived at the village after the attack, said the torched cars were situated near residential housing, and, as such, "the event could have ended in tragedy."

Zahalka called on Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to personally visit the scene of the crime. "The police have yet to prioritize 'price tag' incidents, and therefore the minister must take responsibility for the matter," he added.

In a separate incident, racist slogans were spray-painted Tuesday on the door of an apartment in Safed where two Arab students live. The two women, who live in the "Ahuzat Binyamin" building in the entrance to Safed's old city, were not at their apartment at the time of the attack.

The spray-painted slogans read, "Arabs out whores ... we'll burn you." Police have opened an investigation into the matter.

This incident came three weeks after a suspected "price tag" attack in Akbara, a village of Safed, in which vandals torched several cars and sprawled the words "price tag" on a nearby wall.

Two years ago, several similar cases occurred in Safed, including anti-Arab graffiti and the torching of cars belonging to Arab students who studied in Safed's Academic College.

One of three cars that was burned in a suspected 'price tag' attack overnight, Um El-Kutuf, Wadi Ara, May 14, 2013.
A wall spray painted with 'Arabs out… whores … we'll burn you', May 14, 2013.Credit: Elimelech Gerstel

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