Price tag vandals attack Jewish-Arab village

Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salam, village that promotes Arab-Jewish coexistence, had never been attacked before.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
June 8, 2012 10:42
2 minute read.
Vandalized elementary school in Neve Shalom

"Price tag" attack at Neve Shalom 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Neve Shalom Community Council)

 
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“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.

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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 attacks.

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.

Sulimani said 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 coexistence.

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 El.

In return for the evacuation of parts of Ulpana, the government announced authorization of 851 new homes in West Bank settlements.

Neveh 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.

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