|Photo by: Courtesy Neve Shalom Community Council|
Price tag vandals attack Jewish-Arab village
By MELANIE LIDMAN
Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salam, village that promotes Arab-Jewish
coexistence, had never been attacked before.
“Price-tag” vandals attacked the Jewish-Arab coexistence village of Neveh Shalom
near Latrun on Friday morning, expressing their displeasure over the decision to
evacuate part of the Ulpana neighborhood.
Right-wing extremists slashed
the tires of 14 cars and spray-painted anti-Arab messages on the elementary
school, public buildings and three cars.
The vandals wrote “Revenge,”
“Regards from Ulpana” and “Regards from Gilad Farm,” as well as “Death to Arabs”
and “Kahane was right.” Police opened an investigation into the
Gideon Sulimani, chairman of the local council at Neveh Shalom,
said the vandalism occurred sometime between 2:30 and 5 a.m. A local
kindergarten teacher discovered the graffiti around 5:30.
that the village has not seen any issues of previous racist attacks, and the
community lacks a fence around its perimeter.
“We see this as an attempt
to damage the idea of the village,” he said. “We live together and we’re proof
that we can do this.”
Sulimani warned that the attack was a harbinger of
future threats. “This is the writing on the wall, and we’re counting on police
to take care of this. The things that are happening here, we can’t ignore this,
and we can’t get used to this. This time it’s cars, but next time it will be
people,” he said.
Suliman said the vandalism was especially frightening
for the children of the community, and they planned on convening special
sessions over the coming days to discuss the attacks.
This was the second
time price tag extremists specifically targeted an organization that promotes
Vandals also attacked the Hand in Hand Center for
Jewish-Arab Education elementary school in Jerusalem’s Patt neighborhood on
February 7, spray-painting “Kahane was right” and “Death to Arabs” in large
letters on the school’s walls.
Some activists use the price tag attacks
to protest governmental and army policies that they perceive as anti-settlement
in nature. The word’s use is derived from the claim that vandalism against Arab
property is the “price” to pay for the evacuation of settlements and the
demolition of housing.
Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
blocked Knesset legislation that would have stopped the demolition of
unauthorized settler homes – paving the way for the evacuation of five buildings
on private Palestinian land in the Ulpana neighborhood, on the outskirts of Beit
In return for the evacuation of parts of Ulpana, the government
announced authorization of 851 new homes in West Bank settlements.
Shalom was founded in 1970 on land next to the Latrun Monastery, and is now home
to around 50 families.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.