Jaffa restaurant vandalized in suspected 'price tag' attack

"Price tag," "Kahane was right" found spray painted; police looking into possible arson; restaurant manager says cooler heads will prevail.

Price tag attack on Jaffa restaurant (photo credit: Sami Abu Shehade Office)
Price tag attack on Jaffa restaurant
(photo credit: Sami Abu Shehade Office)
Unknown assailants on Monday night carried out a suspected “price tag” attack in Jaffa, spraying right-wing graffiti on a restaurant in the city, and attempting to set the building on fire.
Employees who came to open the Abu al-Abed restaurant on the city’s Yefet Street said they found a small fire still smoldering inside the kitchen of the restaurant and outside the words “price tag” and “Kahane was right” written in spray paint on the outside of the building.
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Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that the investigation is ongoing and police are examining all possible angles, including that it was a criminal, rather than ideological act.
Restaurant manager Jerry Saba told The Jerusalem Post Monday morning the eatery was open Sunday night until 11:30 p.m. as usual, and that several neighbors told him they heard a loud noise of some sort around 3 a.m.
Saba said when workers arrived at the restaurant they found a small flame still burning in the kitchen and shortly thereafter discovered the graffiti. The floor and wall behind the kitchen’s grill were scorched and covered in soot on Monday afternoon, and there appeared to be some smoke damage on the kitchen ceiling as well.
Saba said the restaurant, which was closed on Monday to clean-up damage from the incident, has been open since 1949 and that it has always been a place of co-existence.
He added that in his estimation around 90 percent of the customers are Jews.
“We’ve been open since 1949 and have always been a place of tranquility, and suddenly you have people from outside who come and do something like this,” said Saba.
Tel Aviv-Jaffa city councilman Sami Abu-Shehada was at the restaurant on Monday, and pointed a finger at police, who he accused of not doing enough to arrest pricetag perpetrators.
“We have been warning that the people who do pricetag actions will not stop until the Israel police and the Israeli government make them pay a serious price for these activities. Until now they haven’t paid a price and this encourages them to continue what they’re doing.”
He blamed what he referred to as “settlers,” a group of national religious youth and rabbis who have recently arrived in Jaffa for bringing such activities to the area.
“I think that the settlers who came to Jaffa, in their ideology they want to wipe the Green Line from the map, and this is what they’re doing. They are continuing the activities that happen in the West Bank here inside the Green Line.”
Abu-Shehadeh also said he did not believe the action could have been a criminal act stemming from a dispute involving the business owners, saying “I am very close friends with the owner of the restaurant and if he’d had any such problems I would have known about it.”
In early October,far-right graffiti was found spray-painted on headstones in two cemeteries in Jaffa, including the messages “price tag” and “death to Arabs.”
The words “death to Russians – G.A. 02” were also spray-painted in the cemetery.
Police said the incident was “linked to a soccer group,” and that they were not convinced it was carried out by right-wing elements.
No one has been arrested in connection to the incident.