A number of suspects have been arrested in central Israel over the last few days for the suspected arson and “price-tag” attack at Jerusalem’s integrated Max Rayne Hand in Hand School late last month, police said Sunday.
While details of the investigation and identities of the suspects remain unclear, according to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld all those arrested were arraigned at Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court, where a judge ordered them remanded for five days.
“An intensive investigation took place immediately after the incident and arrests were made over the last few days,” said Rosenfeld. “The suspects were arraigned in Petah Tikva because they live in or around that district.”
On November 29 a preschool classroom in the bilingual school, which serves more than 600 Arab and Jewish pupils from throughout Jerusalem in the capital’s Pat neighborhood, was set on fire and anti-Arab hate speech was found spray-painted on a nearby wall.
The incident swiftly drew national and international condemnation amid calls for the suspects to be brought to justice after an initial police investigation showed signs that the fire was set intentionally from inside the school.
Following the vandalism, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the suspects.
“Pyromaniacs and those who disturb order cannot take the law into their own hand to disrupt the routine of our lives,” he said.
Meanwhile, a number of Meretz representatives contended that the incident was directly related to the controversial “Jewish state” bill, which if passed would define Israel as a Jewish state, and which critics argue would further alienate Arab citizens.
Two days after the alleged arson, two Jewish teens were arrested for hanging anti-Arab placards on the school’s exterior walls, stating “Kahane was right” and “Arabs are cancer.”
According to police, both boys, age 14, were initially detained for questioning by the school’s security guard, who called the police.