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Tombstone vandalized with swastika in Israel

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(JTA) — The tomb of a Jewish scholar was desecrated with a swastika in northern Israel in an apparent retaliation for Jewish hate crimes.

The swastika was discovered Tuesday on the tomb of Rabbi Aba Halfata near Karmiel, Army Radio reported, along with the words: “Price tag will pay the price” — an apparent reference to so-called “price tag” attacks.

The term which designates acts of vandalism or other violence by Jewish nationalists against Arabs or security personnel for actions or policies that are perceived by perpetrators as endangering the interests of West Bank settlers.

On Friday, Muslims near the Haifa suburb of Nesher discovered the words “price tag” had been spray-painted on the grave of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, the Muslim preacher who provided inspiration for Hamas’ military wing.

Israel has seen an increase in suspected price tag attacks, which police said were mostly the work of right-wing radicals.

The U.S. State Department’s 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism, which was released last week, said that “attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property, and places of worship in the West Bank continued and were largely unprosecuted.”

Israeli police rejected the report’s classification of “price tag” attacks as acts of terrorism.

Rabbi Aba Halfata was buried in the 2nd century and led the Jewish community of Tzipori near Nazareth. He was a scholar of the second Tannaitic generation who also served as the head of Tzipori’s rabbinical seminary, according to jewishencyclopedia.com.

He is buried near the graves of his wife and two sons, according to Army Radio.

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