Valley of the Cross Price Tag attack_390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
“Kahane was not right, Kahane was wrong. Arabs will live and they will live with
Jews. That’s what we do here, we live together.”
That is what Shalom
Dichter, the executive-director of Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab
Bilingual Education in Israel, wants his students to take away from a vandalism
attack against their unique school.
On Tuesday morning, Dichter was
greeted by giant letters spray painted on the wall next to a basketball court:
“Death to Arabs, Kahane was right.” Large black block letters on white stone,
cutting to the heart of a painful conflict in the city.
branch of Hand in Hand has been vandalized before, but never with such difficult
words that stood out so starkly, said Dichter. The same night the Hand in Hand
school was vandalized, extremists also attacked the Valley of the Cross
Monastery, with similar messages spray painted on cars and a stone wall next to
At the Hand in Hand school, each class of the 525 students
in kindergarten to grade 12 addressed the attack in the first
“These kids are not used to vandalism,” said Dichter on Tuesday.
“But they know they’re doing something irregular. The kids understand that this
was a planned political attack, and they are treating this as a political
attack. They don’t feel personally attacked,” he said.
“This was yet
another lesson in civic studies, a bad one. But our children learn from
everything and they learn from this one, too. They learn they are on the front
line of the social change in Israel,” Dichter added. More than 800 students
learn at three Hand in Hand schools in Israel, including branches in the Galilee
and Wadi Ara.
One of the students bravely suggested that the school
should leave the graffiti, in order for it to serve as a reminder of the
challenges the students must overcome. But Dichter decided instead to extend his
hand to the perpetrators. He invites those who spray painted the messages to
come into the school and learn with the students, rather than spraying hateful
“There are people who are against what we’re doing,”
“The cooperation between Jews and Arabs bothers their
perspective on life. But, what, we’re supposed to stop because of that?” he
said. “No, we’re inviting them to learn with us.”