Ten Torched Mosques, Zero Indictments

Since June 2011, 10 mosques in Israel and the West Bank have been set on fire by presumed right-wing Jewish extremists. No charges have been filed.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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A Palestinian man displays a Koran that was damaged in a presumed arson attack at a mosque in the West Bank Palestinian village al-Mughayyir on November 12, 2014.
A Palestinian man displays a Koran that was damaged in a presumed arson attack at a mosque in the West Bank Palestinian village al-Mughayyir on November 12, 2014.Credit: AP
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Wednesday’s torching of a mosque in the Palestinian village of al-Mughayyir brings to 10 the number of Muslim houses of worship in Israel and the territories that have been targeted in arson attacks in less than three and a half years. No one has been charged in any of these incidents.

In the first of these incidents, in June 2011, a different mosque in the Ramallah-area village was torched. The words “Price Tag – Alei Ayin” were sprayed in Hebrew at the building’s entrance, suggesting that the attack was prompted by the forcible evacuation in the previous week by the Israeli military of an unauthorized outpost of a nearby Jewish settlement.

Some three months later, in October 2011, the mosque in the Galilee Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangariyye was set on fire in another presumed “price tag” action. The building was heavily damaged and a large number of religious books were destroyed in the fire.

An apparent arson attack at a mosque in the West Bank village of Burkin in December 2011 damaged the building’s entryway. In that incident, the name of the head of the Jewish division of the Shin Bet security service, a department that investigates the activities of Jewish extremists, was painted at the mosque entrance.

Later that month a mosque on Strauss Street in downtown Jerusalem was set on fire and hate slogans painted on its walls, including “A good Arab is a dead Arab” and “Kahane lives,” the latter a reference to the late right-wing extremist rabbi, Meir Kahane. Also that month, a mosque in the Ramallah-area Palestinian village of Burqa, adjacent to the settlement of Migron, was torched.

In June 2012 the mosque in the Palestinian village of Jub’a, southeast of Ramallah, was set on fire, sustaining moderate damage. The term “price tag” and the words “The was has begun” were painted on the walls of the building.

In January 2014 the door of a mosque in the Palestinian village of Deir Istiya, in the northern West Bank, was torched. Slogans painted on the walls — “Arabs out, Hi from Qusra’ and “Revenge for spilled blood in Qusra” — were a presumed reference to an incident the previous week in which Palestinian villagers had assaulted a group of local settlers.

In April the main door of a mosque in the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm was set on fire and “Arabs out” was sprayed on the wall of the building.

And in October a mosque in the West Bank village of Aqraba, south of Nablus, sustained minor damage in a presumed arson attack. Witnesses reported that Jewish settlers came to the mosque after midnight and sprayed slogans on the walls.

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