Unknown vandals spray-painted graffiti on the walls of homes and cars in the northern Israeli Arab village of Yafia outside of Nazareth overnight between Thursday and Friday and caused other damage to cars in the village.
Police have opened an investigation into the incident, in which the walls of two homes were spray-painted with the words "revenge" and a Star of David. Some of the roughly 20 cars damaged had graffiti with the words "price tag" and "mutual responsibility." Car tires were also punctured.
Jewish extremists have used the term "price tag" to describe vandalism or violence aimed at preventing or avenging the evacuation of West Bank settlers by Israeli authorities or to avenge Palestinian violence.
One Yafia resident, Rayik Kananeh, told Haaretz this was the first time that such an incident had occurred in the village. He expressed the hope that police would apprehend the perpetrators.
For its part, however, the Yafia Local Council, the local government authority in the village, said this was the second hate crime carried out there. In a statement, the local council said it places full responsibility on the national government to apprehend those who carried it out and bring them to justice. "The Yafia Local Council calls on all reasonable people in Jewish society to raise their voices against these heinous acts. The fascism that starts with Arabs will continue until [it reaches] the reasonable members of Jewish society. Enough with racism!" the statement said.
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Commenting on the incident, Knesset member Yousef Jabareen of the predominantly Arab Joint List faction said: "The attacks of 'price tag' gangs have been continuing against the Arab public for a number of years and the police have shown shocking impotence."
"This is the second hate crime in Yafia in the past two years. The lives and property of Arabs is not up for grabs, and it is unacceptable that the police are unable to apprehend to perpetrators," the Joint List legislator said. The Israeli government bears responsibility for the continued attacks and for bringing the perpetrators to justice, Jabareen added.
In a separate incident in the northern West Bank on Monday, 15 vehicles in the Palestinian village of Marda near the settlement of Ariel were vandalized. Village residents reported that tires were punctured and that graffiti was spray-painted in Hebrew on some of them with slogans such as "we will not sleep while our brothers are being murdered."
Earlier in the month, west of Ariel at an Israeli business in the Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank, two Israelis were murdered, allegedly by a Palestinian coworker who has not yet been apprehended.
The chairman of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, took Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet to task for what Odeh alleged was incitement that is encouraging extremists, and said those in national leadership bear responsibilty. In a reference to election day for the Knesset in 2015, when the prime minister warned of Arab voters going to the polls "in droves."
Odeh said that statement has been followed by "racist local government campaigns and the Arab population is becoming a punching bag for the right wing." Local elections around Israel are scheduled for next Tuesday.