Calls Mount for Stronger Response to Israel Extremist Price Tag Attacks

Wave of Attacks Target Arab and Christian Targets

getty images

By Ben Sales

Published May 13, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(JTA) — Houses of worship have been vandalized, businesses defaced and car tires slashed.

So-called “price tag” attacks have proliferated since Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were suspended at the end of April.

Intended to exact a price for Israeli government policies seen as detrimental to the settlement enterprise, such attacks have long been a problem in the West Bank. But suspected Jewish extremists increasingly are targeting Israeli Arab citizens, mosques and churches within the country’s borders.

Israel’s government has been left in the awkward position of confronting a string of ideologically motivated attacks perpetrated by Jews. Now calls are growing for the government to mount a stronger response.

The latest attacks come at a particularly sensitive time — just weeks before Pope Francis is due to make a high-profile visit to Israel. Anti-Christian graffiti has prompted the Vatican to express concern for the safety of Israel’s Christians.

“What began as love of the land has become, in part, a wild west sown with hate toward Arabs, the state of laws and its representatives,” Justice Minister Tzipi livni wrote in a Facebook post May 7.

Attackers have slashed the tires of Arab-owned cars in the Israeli towns of Yokneam, Acre and Fureidis. Graffiti reading “Death to Arabs” was sprayed in Yokneam and eastern Jerusalem.

On Friday, Jerusalem’s St. George Romanian Orthodox Church was defaced with the words “Price tag, King David is for the Jews, Jesus is garbage.”

Even Jewish and Israeli Defense Forces institutions are not immune. On Monday, vandals reportedly defaced an Israeli army base with slogans demeaning the pope and Arabs. The same day, swastikas inside Jewish stars were found outside Jerusalem’s Conservative Moreshet Yisrael synagogue.

Israeli security forces have responded as they have since the price tag attacks began in 2008 — with investigations and arrests.

Amos Oz, one of Israel’s leading literary figures and a stalwart of the left, likened price tag perpetrators to neo-Nazis in a nationally televised speech on Friday in honor of his 75th birthday.

“‘Price tag’ and ‘hilltop youth’ are sweet, sugary nicknames, and the time has come to call this monster by its name,” Oz said. “We wanted to be like all other nations, we longed for there to be a Hebrew thief and a Hebrew prostitute — and there are Hebrew neo-Nazi groups.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.