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Jewish extremists vandalize mosque, cars in Arab Israeli town

Published: Updated:

Dozens of cars in a northern Israeli Arab village were vandalized overnight, police said Tuesday, with slogans sprayed on a mosque indicating the involvement of Jewish extremists.

The messages “Jews awaken” and “Stop assimilating” were scrawled on a mosque and another building in Jish, also known as Gush Halav, a small village in the Galilee just south of Israel’s border with Lebanon.

Police said they were investigating the incident, which they condemned along with “all nationalistic hate crimes.”

Jish council head Elias Elias told AFP that the tyres of over 150 cars were punctured, noting this was not the first time his village, comprised of Muslims and Christians, was targeted.

“I can only imagine what would happen if things like this would have been sprayed on a synagogue in the US or Europe,” he said. “The whole world would be in an uproar.”

The incident bore the hallmark of a “price tag” attack -- a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes targeting Palestinians and Arab Israelis and their property, as well as Muslim and Christian holy sites.

Israel has seen a rise in similar vandalism against Israeli Arabs in recent months, and in December, the tyres of 160 cars were slashed in annexed east Jerusalem.

Last month, Israeli police launched a manhunt after an apparent arson attack in an east Jerusalem mosque accompanied by Hebrew-language graffiti.