Barak: Mosque attack harms Israel's world reputation

PM orders Shin Bet to find perpetrators of Tuba attack; president expresses outrage: "it brings great shame upon us."

Ehud Barak 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Ehud Barak 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak condemned the arson attack at a mosque in the northern town of Tuba Zangria Monday, saying that it hurts Israel's reputation in the world.
The suspected "price tag" attack, Barak said, is a "criminal act that harms the State of Israel."
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"The criminals who carried out the act are interested in destabilizing relations between Jews and Arabs and are causing great harm to the name of Israel in the world," the defense minister continued. "I am convinced that these responsible for the criminal and revolting act will be caught quickly and brought to justice."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yoram Cohen Monday morning and directed him to quickly find those responsible for setting the mosque alight.
The prime minister was "boiling with anger" when he saw the pictures and said the act "contravenes the values of the State of Israel, in which freedom of religion and freedom of worship are supreme values," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
The "shocking pictures," Netanyahu said, "have no place in the State of Israel."
Both President Shimon Peres and Education Minister Gideon Saar on Monday condemned the attack, while speaking at the President's Residence at the official inauguration of a program geared towards training high school students towards scientific excellence.
Expressing his deep outrage at the incident, Peres declared that it was not a Jewish thing to do, nor was it legal or moral. "It brings great shame upon us," he said. "It is a terrible thing which I condemn in the strongest possible terms. It is a difficult day for the residents of Tuba-Zangria and a difficult day for Israeli society as a whole.
"As the President of Israel I call during these soul searching days of penitence between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, for the rooting out of such deeds from our midst". Such acts of terrorism, he said, poison the relationship between Israel and her neighbors and between Israeli citizens of different faiths."
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch also responded with outrage to the incident on Monday, calling it a "criminal and despicable attack on a holy place."
"I've spoken with Police Insp.-Gen. [Yohanan Danino] about the incident and received updates about police responses to the incident and the police's determination to bring the perpetrators to justice," he added.
Earlier Monday morning, opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that if the burning of a mosque was indeed a "Price Tag" attack then "it should be vehemently condemned."
"Burning of mosques goes against the values ​​of Israel as a Jewish state," Livni said.