Molotov cocktail hits Jaffa synagogue, none injured

Attack comes after hate graffiti found in Muslim, Christian cemeteries; Police: Vandalism not necessarily "price-tag" linked; Jaffa Arabs protest.

Jaffa Cemetery 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Jaffa Cemetery 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hours after far-right-wing graffiti was reported to police in Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Jaffa, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue in the area on Saturday. The projectile struck the roof of the Rabbi Meir synagogue in the city.  No damage or injuries were reported in the attack.
Earlier on Saturday night, police said that graffiti was found spray painted in cemeteries in Jaffa, but later said they were not convinced  the graffiti was actually spray-painted by right-wing extremists.RELATED:
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Police had beefed up presence in Jaffa and held talks with community leaders to try and reduce the likelihood of more attacks or vandalism. The messages "price tag" and "death to Arabs" were written on the tombstones. However, police later reported that the slogan "death to Russians - G.A. 02" was also spray painted in the cemetery, adding that this graffiti was "linked to a soccer group."
Police denied media reports that some 25 graves were damaged in the incident.
"We have not seen any smashed stones," a Tel Aviv police spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.
"An investigation is underway," she added.
"This is not a new incident. We believe it occurred several days ago," she said. "The graffiti has been erased."
The head of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Ajawa, told Channel 10 news that he had issued a call to all Arab groups in the city to "act with caution and avoid being dragged into a violent response."
He described the incident as "an attempt by an extremist group to blackmail the Arab masses in the city."
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were looking "at a number
of possibilities" regarding the cemetery defacement.
A separate investigation is underway into the Molotov cocktail attack, he added.
On Saturday night, around 200 people took part in a protest in the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa against the vandalism.
Head of the Ajami neighborhood committee in Jaffa, Kamal Agbariya, said Saturday night, “this is a terrible and offensive action to desecrate a cemetery, but we say that the writing was on the wall. There were two cases in the past month where people wrote “death to Arabs” on walls in Jaffa and probably people saw that there was no response from the police so they did it again.”
Agbariya called on police to act against the vandalism and said that Jaffa residents would visit the police headquarters on Salameh street in South Tel Aviv on Sunday to demand that they take further actions to prevent such incidents from happening again.
Throughout the rally, protesters chanted against “settlers” and “fascists” and pointed an accusatory finger at the Netanyahu government, which they claimed is not taking enough actions against Jewish extremism.
Tel-Aviv Jaffa city councilman Sami Abu-Shehada blamed the government for not taking what he said were strong enough steps against such actions, saying “the government gives these people a green light to commit such acts. If people were to pay a serious price after the first price tag operation, it wouldn’t happen again.”
On Thursday, police announced the arrest of a yeshiva student from northern Israel on suspicion of being behind an arson attack on a mosque in a Beduin village in the Galilee.
A night of rioting broke out in the village of Tuba Zanghariya after the incident, followed by waves of arrests of suspected rioters.