Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday decried the desecration of graves in Christian and Muslim cemeteries in Jaffa during Yom Kippur, saying that Israel is “not willing to tolerate vandalism, especially not the kind that would offend religious sensibilities.”
“Israel shows tolerance for religious sentiments and a desire for peaceful coexistence without violence, but will show no tolerance for those who oppose it”, said Netanyahu during a cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu’s words came after both a Muslim and Christian cemetery were vandalized by graffiti that said “Death to the Arabs”, and “price tag”. Headstones were smashed and racist slogans were spray-painted on graves.
The incident occurred less than a week after a mosque was torched, also by alleged Jewish extremists, in northern Israel.
About 200 Arabs and Jews gathered in Jaffa on Saturday night to protest the desecration at the cemetery and calling for an end to violence and racism. At one point during the demonstration, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the roof of Rabbi Meir Ba’al Hanes synagogue in Jaffa. The building was empty at the time and there were no reports of casualties. Firefighters, police and medical teams were rushed to the scene.
Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said the attacks on the cemeteries were a serious matter, and pledged that the police will do all they can “in order to ensure that situations such as this one end in indictments.”
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