'Price tag' vandals attack J'lem monastery, school

Anti-Christian graffiti spray-painted near Valley of the Cross Monastery; mixed Jewish-Arab school also attacked

By MELANIE LIDMAN
February 7, 2012 09:04
2 minute read.
Valley of the Cross price tag attack [file]

Valley of the Cross Price Tag attack_390. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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“Price-tag” vandals struck again in Jerusalem overnight Monday, attacking a monastery and an Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem.

Two cars and a stone fence at the Valley of the Cross Monastery, below the Israel Museum, were covered with anti-Christian graffiti, and the cars’ tires were slashed. The vandals wrote “Jesus drop dead,” “Death to Christians” and “Kahane was right.” They called themselves “The Maccabees of Migron” and left the words “price tag.”

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“Everyone knows the people who did this are not regular people. Ninety-two percent of the people in Israel respect Christians and Greeks.

It’s just the 8% who don’t,” said the monastery’s Father Claudio. “I am a priest, I pray to god, and I say I forgive these people.”

Sister Thekla said it was the first time in recent memory that the monastery had been vandalized, but that extremists sometimes threw stones at the entrance. The graffiti was removed by the municipality by 9 a.m.

Vandals also attacked the Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education elementary school in the Patt neighborhood, where they spraypainted “Kahane was right” and “death to Arabs” on the wall. The executive director of Hand in Hand, Shuli Dichter, had appealed to the Knesset after a spate of price-tag incidents in December, including at a mosque in Jerusalem.

Activists and politicians slammed the latest attacks.

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“This is hooliganism and racism that damages the authority of the law and endangers the attempt to live in cooperation and safety,” said MK Shelly Yacimovich, head of the Labor Party.

“This is an attack on a place that represents the wish of Arabs and Jews to build together a better future for their children,” said Tom Mehager, spokesman for the Abraham Fund, an initiative that operates educational programs for Jewish and Arab students.

The latest incidents followed a price-tag attack that occurred overnight Saturday in the West Bank village of Al-Janiya, near Ramallah. Vandals spray-painted “Death to Arabs,” “revenge” and “closed military zone” on a building and taxi.

Police have launched an investigation.

Price-tag attacks are a tool used by Jewish extremists to protest government and army policies they perceive as anti-settlement. The use of the word comes from their claim that vandalism against Arab property is the “price” that must be paid for the evacuation of settlements and the demolition of housing.

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