JERUSALEM (JTA) — A West Bank mosque was set afire in what is believed to be a third “price tag” attack by right-wing Jewish settlers in recent days.
The door of the mosque in the northern West Bank, near the large Ariel settlement, was damaged. The fire did not spread to the rest of the mosque.
Graffiti also was painted on the mosque’s walls, including “Arabs out,” “Hi from Kusra” and “Revenge for spilled blood in Kusra,” according to Haaretz.
On Jan. 7, some 15 Israelis marched from the Esh Kodesh outpost into Kusra in a move that police believe was intended as a show of force. A Palestinian mob took the men hostage and beat them before the Israeli army intervened and extracted the men. According to some accounts, Palestinian residents prevented other Palestinians from lynching the Israelis.
Right-wing settlers are accused of two other reprisal attacks in a week.
The Israel Defense Forces condemned the vandalism and said it diverts the military’s attention from keeping the area secure for its Jewish residents.
The vandalism comes two days after reports that leading Modern Orthodox rabbis in Israel signed a public letter condemning such price tag attacks, referring to the strategy that extremist settlers and their supporters have adopted to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or Palestinian attacks on Jews.
The rabbis’ letter said in part, “The so-called ‘price tag’ attacks are against Jewish law and ethics. They are illegal and cause a desecration of G-d’s Name. Beyond this, the attacks damage the standing of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and stains the names of a large number of law-abiding people.”