Paying the Price for 'Price Tag' Crimes |

Arabs Targeted in Hate Crimes Left to Cover Costs, Unrecognized by Israel as Terror Victims

Government's decision to classify perpetrators of 'price tag' attacks as members of illegal organizations rather than terrorists makes victims ineligible for compensation from the state.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Two days after unidentified assailants slashed the tires of 28 cars and daubed hate slogans on homes in the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh, the victims of the attacks - believed to have been carried out by Jewish extremists - voiced dismay that they are ineligible for compensation from the state.

One of the families targeted by the "price tag" attack lamented that all four of the cars in its possession have been vandalized, including a luxury jeep. The cost to repair the latter vehicle could amount to NIS 5,000 per tire.

Last week the government decided against defining as acts of terrorism these hate crimes perpetrated against Arabs, asserting instead that the assailants would be treated as members of illegal organizations.

According to jurists, this decision deems the victims of such crimes ineligible for compensation from the state. While those who possess comprehensive insurance may be reimbursed, most of the families and individuals targeted must cover the costs themselves.

Only in rare instances does the state pay for the damage, says Michael Sfard, an attorney who has represented hundreds of victims of hate and revenge crimes. Most of his clients were Palestinian farmers whose trees were uprooted by settlers.

On occasion, instead of receiving compensation from the state, the victims are handed a bill. Three months ago four cars in the northern village of Akbara were torched. A few days later, the owners of the vehicles were asked to pay for the firefighters' services – NIS 400 per car.

"Clearly no one would have dared to send a receipt to the victims of Arab terrorism," said Gadi Gvaryahu, the founder of Tag Meir, a coalition of groups advocating for the rights of "price tag" victims. "The State of Israel must recognize victims of Jewish terrorism the same way it recognize victims of terrorism perpetrated by Arabs."

Gvaryahu noted the case of Hassan Usruf, a contract worker employed by the Tel Aviv municipality who fell victim to nationalistically-motivated violence in February. He has since been unable to return to work due to his wounds. The National Insurance Institute of Israel has paid him a partial salary for three months, but afterwards his family was left without an income.

"Everyone tells me that everything will be fine, but since the incident I'm scraping by, trying to find a solution," Usruf's wife, Marian, said.

Anti-Arab graffiti, reading 'Arabs out,' sprayed in Abu Ghosh on June 19, 2013.Credit: Emil Salman

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