No one knows how long the bombs were stashed at the school, but it could have been weeks, maybe longer, that hundreds of kids passed through the school none the wiser.The weapons were stashed in a closet inside a classroom that hadn''t been used for sometime. It was a serious haul: 13 mortar shells, three rifles, incendiary flares, and sacks filled with hundreds of rounds of .99 ammunition. The arsenal was found in Abu Snan only a few weeks after anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and explosives were found hidden in a school and a kindergarten for special needs children, in the same Arab village in the Galilee near Acre.
Mortar shells, rifles, ammo seized at a school in Abu Snan last year. (Israel Police)
Those seizures - just two of several that happened over a couple months last year in the Arab sector, came to mind lateTuesday night as police announced that they''d seized a bomb stashed in a middle school in Petah Tikva. By the morning it was the lead story for a few hours on Ynet, and police from the YAHBAL serious crimes unit and the Central District had spent hours scrambling to answer reporters questions, send out press releases, and organize a sync with the Central District commander at the scene of the seizure.
Last February, after the seizures at the Arab schools in the north, and other busts at Arab schools in the Triangle, it was a different story. Police sent out photos and press releases, but the stories didn''t lead the websites, and they went in the papers as briefs at best. Also the investigations weren''t put in the hands of the YAHBAL unit, which handles organized crime, but stayed with district detectives.
The contrast is another indication of the divergent way stories are covered in Israel. Not only when the story involves Arabs and not Jews, but also when it happens in the periphery, and not the center (for instance, car bombs and mob hits in the Krayot/Haifa area garner much less coverage than their counterparts in the center, including Petah Tikva where the bomb story Tuesday follows a series of mob violence including deadly car bombs in the city).
Other instances that come to mind are legion, in particular two that took place on the night of the nationwide municipality elections - the shooting of an Arab city council candidate in Lod and the murder of a man in woman in Taibe, whose bodies were found inside a torched car in a remote corner of the city. Both were big stories, but got muted coverage at best.
The difference is also seen in the language. While contract killings in Jewish Israeli society are called "organized crime assassinations", even when the people involved are at best members of small local gangs, in the Arab sector, contract killings, even when they involve bombs and the like, are often just called "clan violence" or "murder within the family". There''s been efforts to remedy this, and police make a point of not using the term "honor killings", but differences abound nonetheless.
Another difference was apparent on Tuesday night, when (another) bomb was found in an Israeli school, this time in Petah Tikva.