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Daily Israel Report

Israel Condemns Mosque Vandalism

Condemnations from Jewish leaders continue to stream in of the vandalism against a mosque in the Shomron. Edelstein: Keep things in perspective.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 12/13/2009, 12:23 PM / Last Update: 12/13/2009, 12:14 PM

Condemnations from Jewish leaders continue to stream in of the vandalism perpetrated against a mosque in the Shomron late Thursday night - though it is not yet known who did it.

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said on Sunday, “I was shocked. Burning mosques is not our way, this is not the proper way to fight, and we condemn this in every sense.”
Edelstein: Let’s not take things out of proportion. Not a day passes that a Jewish target is not attacked somewhere around the world.

Rabbis of Judea/Samaria towns, such as Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Elon Moreh, Rabbi Avi Gisser of Ofrah, and others, also condemned the vandalism, saying that mosques and religious sites are not legitimate targets in our national struggle. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Places, similarly said the vandalism is "contrary to all values of Judaism and is worthy of condemnation. Places that are considered holy by followers of all religions must remain outside the framework of political conflict. This is a serious matter that must be investigated, and its perpetrators must be found quickly.”

Many cabinet ministers, including Prof. Rabbi Herskovitz (Jewish Home), Yisrael Katz (Likud), Eli Yishai (Shas), Uzi Landau (Israel Our Home), and Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) also condemned the vandalism, but Edelstein added: “Let’s not take things out of proportion. Not a day passes that a Jewish target is not attacked somewhere around the world, yet we don’t hear condemnations from Foreign Ministries. We’ve been hearing about the mosque all day on the radio – but hardly anything about the Jewish girl who was stabbed by an Arab in Gush Etzion.”

A group of Jews from Gush Etzion plans to visit the site of the targeted mosque in the village of Yasuf in the Shomron on Sunday afternoon. They will meet with village leaders and express their opposition to such acts of vandalism.

A carpet in the mosque was burnt in several places, as were some holy books. Graffiti reading “Price tag – Regards from Effie” was written on the floor. Price Tag is the name of a Jewish protest campaign in which unknown elements respond to the increased law enforcement against Jews and the freeze on Jewish construction by lashing out at Arabs in the area.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the security forces to seek out those responsible for the vandalism. “This is an extremist act,” Barak said, “designed to block the government’s efforts to promote processes for the sake of Israel’s future.”