Unknown vandals punctured the tires of about 30 cars in the Arab Israeli town of Kafr Qasem overnight between Sunday and a truck in the vicinity was spray-painted with graffiti reading "Jews won't keep quiet." Police were dispatched to the scene in the town northeast of Tel Aviv.
Speaking to Haaretz, Kafr Qasem Mayor Adel Badir said in the past vandals had caused damage to property at the edge of the city, but this time they ventured into the town.
"If the group [responsible] had felt any kind of deterrence or that they themselves would pay the price for the crimes they were committing, they certainly wouldn't have dared committing it, but the fact that they have repeated it and [this time] came inside the city is evidence that there is no deterrence and they feel rather secure."
The mayor alleged that the political right wing in the country supported such acts. The perpetrators, he said, "undoubtedly feel they have the backing of politicians and right-wing figures who are inspiring and supporting them, unfortunately even from inside the government." The incident, he said, could have been even more serious if residents had awakened and confronted the vandals. "I hope that this time, police and security officials catch up with the group and put them on trial."
The Israeli anti-racism organization said "indiscriminate hate crime over the past month in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has now strayed into the center of the country." The group added: "It would be a mistake to think the criminals who punctured the tires will be arrested and won't move on to physical harm to human beings. The police are not dealing with 'price tag' cases with the appropriate seriousness." Price tag is a term that has become a shorthand in Israel for anti-Arab hate crimes committed by Jews.
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Late last month, unknown vandals painted graffiti and caused damage to cars in two incidents in West Bank Palestinian villages. One slogan read "Death to the Arabs," while others referred to Israeli administrative restraining orders keeping right-wing Jewish activists out of the West Bank.