Aharonovich condemns Wadi Ara 'price tag' attack

Meretz MK calls on Bennett to brand act 'terrorism'; locals leaders fear antic will damage peaceful relations with Arab neighbors.

Merez MK Issawi Freij visits price tag site 370 (photo credit: courtesy)
Merez MK Issawi Freij visits price tag site 370
(photo credit: courtesy)
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharanovich condemned an apparent “price tag” incident in the Wadi Ara on early Tuesday morning, vowing that police will find those responsible for such nationally- motivated attacks.
“I view with grave severity any efforts towards incitement or to hurt people. We won’t stop until we find those responsible,” Aharonovich added, saying police will take steps to increase their ability to prevent future such attacks.
Menashe Regional Council Head Ilan Sadeh said local residents have condemned the incident, which he said threatens traditionally friendly relations between Jews and Arabs in the neighborhood.
“We haven’t had incidents like this in the past and I think that’s part of the reason this area was targeted, because of the good relations between Jews and Arabs, which they want to ruin,” said Sadeh, whose council includes the village of Umm el-Kutuf where three vehicles were set fire and graffiti spray-painted on the wall of a mosque. Anti-Arab graffiti was also found in nearby Safed.
The graffiti included a Star of David and the words “tag mehir” (“price tag”) and “Evyatar,” the latter an apparent reference to Evyatar Borovosky, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar who was stabbed to death at the Tapuah junction last month.
Sadeh said that the Menashe council will hold a special meeting with village elders in order to show solidarity, and in his words “to work together in order to prevent incidents like this in the future.”
“These cars were right next to the wall of a house, what if the house had caught fire? There could have been a serious tragedy here,” Sadeh added.
In a separate incident in late April, four vehicles were torched in the village of Akbara near Safed, while the words “don’t touch our girls, price tag” were found written on a nearby wall.
MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) participated in Nakba Day demonstrations in Umm el-Kutuf Wednesday.
“Whoever did the ‘price tag’ attack here understood that the chances he would be arrested are zero, like in the occupied territories” Tibi said. “Racism raised its head in Israel, and it has representatives in the Knesset and the government.”
According to MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), “Arabs feel threatened not only by ‘price tag,’ but by the police, which, instead of defending the residents, erases [graffiti] from Umm el-Kutuf and hides the identity of the attackers in Kfar Nin, where the residents did not even know that [the incidents] involved racists and the police didn’t bother to tell them.”
“This sends a clear message: The police stands with the attackers. We receive an even more dangerous message from the authorities as high as the ministers themselves, who legitimize persecution of Arabs and racism,” she stated.
Zoabi said that the incidents are not isolated or unusual, and that the government and Knesset standing silent when there is incitement to racism and physical attacks is just as bad as the acts themselves.
MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) visited Umm el-Kutuf on Wednesday, calling for the government to declare the “price tag” crimes as terrorist acts and say that Jews and Arabs should not let those who perpetrated them create hatred and separate the populations.
Frej also had a message for Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett: “You claim to be a national leader and not just a sectorial, settler leader. Naftali – I expect you to stand clearly against the terrorists from the hilltops and say that terror is terror, no matter who commits it, Jews or Arabs.”
“To Arab citizens, I say we should respond to every act of terror and hatred by building, creating and helping our youth,” he added.