Three teenage yeshiva students from Yitzhar, near Nablus, are in custody on suspicion of carrying out a “price tag” attack in Jish, near Safed, in April, Judea and Samaria District police announced on Thursday.
The three boys, aged 16-17, were arrested a week ago and on Thursday prosecutors submitted a pre-indictment motion against them, including charges of vandalism and suspected hate crimes. The tires of some 40 cars were slashed and graffiti was sprayed on a wall reading “Only goyim will be driven out of our country.”
They are students at the Dorshei Yichudcha yeshiva high school in the Samarian settlement.
Jish – known in Hebrew as Gush Halav, is situated on the northeastern slopes of Mount Meron. About 55 percent of its approximately 3,000 residents are Maronite Catholics, 10 percent Melkite Greek Catholics, and the remainder Sunnis.
The arrests followed a joint investigation involving the police Anti-Nationalist Crimes Unit – which probes “price tags” attacks – and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). Police said that during the undercover investigation they turned up evidence linking the teens to the vandalism and that in searches carried out on May 11 and May 18 of their residencies they found weapons and tools that could be used to carry out nationalist crimes.
The term “price tag” refers to vandalism and violence by right-wing Israelis usually meant to protest government policies in the West Bank, and sometimes to unrelated hate crimes against Muslims and Christians.