Suspected arson attack targets Jerusalem school

Emergency responders put out the fire which started in the school’s playground. (Photo courtesy: Tali Meir/Haaretz)

A Jerusalem Hebrew-Arabic bilingual school was damaged Saturday evening following what police suspect was an arson attack as they found hateful messages sprayed on the building’s wall, Israeli newspaper the Haaretz reported.

Emergency responders put out the fire which started in the school’s playground.

According to the Haaretz, the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School is the largest Jewish-Arab school in Israel, having been run by two principles, one Jewish and one Arab, since it was founded in 1998 by an NGO.

The messages on the wall read “Kahane was right” and “There’s no coexisting with cancer,” the Israeli daily reported, marking the latest in a string of vandalizing acts.

One wall had graffiti reading 'Kahane was right.' (Photo courtesy: Courtesy of Jerusalem Fire Bridgade)

One wall had graffiti reading 'Kahane was right.' (Photo courtesy: Courtesy of Jerusalem Fire Bridgade)

Over the past few months, the institution was targeted several times by right-wing extremists who sprayed racist graffiti addressing Arabs on its walls.

“Even if they manage to dirty the school’s walls, they will not manage to bring down our enterprise [of civil cooperation],” Shuli Dichter , executive director of Hand in Hand, the NGO behind the school, said.

“In addition to denouncing [these actions] expressing support, we invite the entire Israeli public to join us in the building of Jewish-Arab civil partnership in Israel. We will continue to develop our educational and social project, where every day 1,200 students come to study, some 200 teachers come to teach, and in which thousands of family members are involved,” he was quoted as saying.

Additionally, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the alleged attack.

“We will not allow pyromaniacs and criminals who take the law into their own hands to disrupt our daily lives,” he said adding “we will continue to denounce the extremists and do whatever it takes to restore the quiet to Jerusalem.”

Barkat said he had been in contact with the Jerusalem Police chief “whose top priority is the investigation and the security of Jerusalem’s children.”

Separately, several Knesset members spoke out against the attack.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she would visit the school on Sunday, adding “we will not let extremists set fire to the coexistence that still exists.”

Education Minister Shay Piron called the attack “a violent, criminal and despicable incident.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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