The Max Rayne Hand in Hand School, which serves more than 600 Arab and Jewish pupils from throughout Jerusalem in the capital’s Pat neighborhood, went up in flames on Saturday night.
Firefighters were working to prevent its spread to the rest of the school’s facilities as they brought the fire under control.
An initial police investigation showed signs that the fire was set intentionally from inside the school.
The source of the blaze was found to be at the building’s preschool. With classes from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, it is the largest Arab-Jewish cultural institution in Israel.
Hebrew graffiti was found on the school’s walls, with slogans such as “You can’t coexist with a cancer,” “Kahane was right,” “Enough with assimilation” and “Death to Arabs.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat came out with harsh words on Saturday night.
“Pyromaniacs and those who disturb order cannot take the law into their own hand to disrupt the routine of our lives,” he said after firefighters brought the blaze under control.
A Meretz representative commented, “This is a direct result of the ‘Jewish state’ bill, which gives legitimacy to harming the fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs. It is no coincidence that this violent action was against those who want to establish coexistence and equality.”
Investigators are probing the cause of the fire and its possible connection to the graffiti at the site.
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