Attacks on Arab cemeteries, Jaffa synagogue condemned


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted attacks on Arab cemeteries and a synagogue in Jaffa.

"We are not prepared to tolerate any vandalism, especially that directed against religious sensitivities," Netanyahu said.

Vandalism was discovered Oct. 7, on the eve of Yom Kippur, at the two Arab cemeteries. It is not known when the attack was perpetrated.

Graffiti including "death to Arabs" and "price tag" were written on the tombstones of Arabs and Christians. Other graffiti made derogatory comments about Russians and supported a local soccer team, Maccabi Haifa.

During a local demonstration protesting the vandalism on Saturday night, a firebomb was thrown at a Jaffa synagogue.

"The State of Israel is both a tolerant state and a very intolerant state," Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. "Our tolerance is toward religious sensitivities and our need to continue living together in coexistence and mutual respect, without violence, in tranquility and peace. Our intolerance is directed toward those who oppose these practices and this way of life."

The discovery of the Jaffa vandalism comes on the heels of an attack on a mosque in a Bedouin Arab community in northern Israel. An 18-year-old Jewish man with ties to a West Bank yeshiva has been arrested in that attack.

Meanwhile, anti-Arab graffiti was sprayed on the walls of two buildings in Bat Yam, near Jaffa, including "Maccabi Haifa doesn’t want Arabs on the team," "Death to Arabs" and "Kahane was right," referring to the late Kach leader Meir Kahane, who advocated the transfer of Arabs out of Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League "strongly condemned" the Jaffa attacks, saying in a statement that "Respect for other religions in general and to holy places in particular is a pillar of the existence of the social fabric of Israel." The statement called on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from retaliatory actions.

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