Racist and hateful slogans were spray-painted on buildings in the Israeli Arab city of Kafr Qasem and the tires of more than 30 vehicles were slashed, in a relatively rare incident of such anti-Arab attack within the Green Line the mayor called "an act of terrorism."
The writings "Expel of kill," and "We'll take our destiny into our own hands," as well as Stars of David, were scrawled on cars and buliding in the central city.
The police said they have opened an investigation into the matter, and the Shin Ben security service is also looking into it.
While there is no evidence to link the two, the suspected hate crime comes after the far-right Religious Zionism party exceeded expectations as Israel held its March 23 election, garnering six seats in the Knesset.
Last week, two cars were torched and hateful graffiti was spray-painted in the Palestinian town of Beit Iksa, near Jerusalem. "Greetings from Ahuvia," the graffiti read, referring to Ahuvia Sandak, a 16-year-old settler killed in a car crash during a chase with police, who suspected him of throwing stones at Palestinians.
Kafr Qasem Mayor Adel Bader told Haaretz that "this isn't the first thing that such a thing happens in Kafr Qasem, it also happened a few months ago, and I think this is the fifth or sixth time in recent years. This is an act of terrorism for all intents and purposes."
"Shameless people come into our neighborhoods and endanger human life," Mayor Bader said. "I call on the police, who have never solved such hate crimes, to act and prevent other perpetrators from committing such crimes in other place."
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Said Issa, of the Kafr Qasem Popular Committee, said, "If something like this were to happen in a Jewish city it would constitute as a terror activity."
"We must take deal with once and for all," Issa added, warning such attacks risk the "delicate fabric" of Arab-Jewish relations in the area.
Nitzan Horowitz, leader of the left-wing Meretz party, condemned the "difficult" incident, likening it to similar attacks by Israeli settlers and right-wing activists in the West Bank.
"Dozens of vehicles have been spray-painted and tires were punctured. Why? Blind hatred, sick racism," Horowitz said. "And corrupt [Netanyahu]'s partners are backing this. It’s a great shame."
Itamar Ben-Gvir, Religious Zionism’s number three and a Jewish supremacist who is the ideological heir of Meir Kahane, is likely to be in a position for a ministerial spot in a potential government coalition, should that effort be led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ben-Gvir, the controversial leader of the Otzma Yehudit faction, advocates encouraging the emigration of Arab citizens who refuse to declare loyalty and accept sub-equal status in an expanded Jewish state whose sovereignty extends throughout the West Bank — the biblical Judea and Samaria. He is a controversial attorney known for defending suspects accused of Jewish terror attacks and hate crimes, and represents Lehava, an organization that fights Jewish intermarriage with non-Jews.