Arab-owned Car Set Alight After Jewish-Arab Dialogue in Safed

Cars of two Arab students who attended Safed Academic College were set on fire following dialogue at the school; college's walls were sprayed with anti-Arab slogans following the event.

Unknown arsonists set the cars of two Arab students on fire in Safed on Wednesday morning, after a college event meant to promote dialogue between Jews and Arabs led to heated arguments between the two groups of students.

In addition to the arson, discriminatory slogans were spray-painted on the walls of the event's sponsor, Safed Academic College. "Arabs get out" and "Death to Arabs" was sprayed across the college's walls.

Car Safed - Yaron Kaminsky
Yaron Kaminsky

Both of the cars of the Arab students had bumper stickers on them revealing their owners' religions, one of whom is Christian and the other Muslim. Other adjacent cars were damaged by the flames.

Ali Naami, the Muslim owner of one of the cars which was set on fire, said that an intense debate broke out at the student event on Tuesday which preceded the arson.

According to Naami, "over the course of the event, a heated discussion broke out between the Jews and the Arabs, over the course of which someone yelled at us that the State of Israel is the Jewish state meant for Jews – and we, as Arabs, do not have a place in it."

Naami said that he and his friends from class, among them Jews, protested these statements. "There was a lot of anger," he added, "these kinds of things cannot be allowed to be said."

Naami added that he is convinced that his car and his friend's car were set on fire in response to the argument at the event.

"The point of the event was to encourage dialogue and reduce tension and what happened was the exact opposite," Naami said, "it only widened the gap [between Jewish and Arab students]."