Jerusalem Municipality Demands Damages From Bilingual School Arsonists

November 2014 arson attack on bilingual school in the capital caused 518,000 shekels worth of direct and indirect damages, says city.

Emil Salman

The Jerusalem municipality has a laid civil claim amounting to half-a-million shekels against the three men convicted of an arson attack against the bilingual school in the city in November 2014.

The claim is for damages caused to two classrooms and equipment, as well as indirect damages, such as psychological counselling, that the municipality had to pay for. The city has estimated the costs it incurred at 518,000 shekels.

The three perpetrators – Shlomo and Nahman Twito and Yitzhak Gabbay – confessed to the arson and were sentenced to prison terms under a plea bargain.

"In light of the confessions of the perpetrators to the arson attack at the school, the municipality has decided to demand from them directly the costs of the damage they caused," the city said in a statement.

"Anybody damaging the city's infrastructure, the light rail or schools from now on will now know that in addition to criminal proceedings we will act in every way possible to have him pay the full cost of the damage he causes," said Mayor Nir Barkat.

On November 28, 2014, the kindergarten in the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School was torched and defaced with graffiti reading "Kahane was right," "End the assimilation," "No coexistence with cancer." There were no casualties, but heavy damage was caused to a classroom.

The Twito brothers and Gabbay were arrested ten days later.

The school is the country's largest Jewish-Arab institution. It has been co-run by a Jewish and an Arab principal since its founding in 1998 by the Hand in Hand non-governmental organization.

The torching in November was the latest in a string of vandalistic attacks against the school, which was repeatedly sprayed with racist graffiti against Arabs.