Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday denounced the alleged “price tag” attack in the northern Israeli town of Fureidis, and vowed that the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) would find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Speaking to Likud activists from the Arab, Bedouin, Druze and Circassian communities of Israel, Netanyahu said such attacks were “contrary to our essence and values.”
He added, “What happened in Fureidis was outrageous, and we are working to catch those responsible. We are using ISA resources for this purpose.”
In the attack, which occurred overnight Monday, anti-Muslim graffiti was found scrawled on a mosque and the tires of several cars parked nearby were slashed.
Police released footage showing three hooded men approaching the mosque in the, then leaving after a short time. It is unclear whether they were Jewish or Israeli Arab and there are few identifying characteristics other than their hooded sweatshirts.
On Tuesday evening, about 2,500 Arabs and Jews held a demonstration in Fureidis against the incident, and on Wednesday the town held a general strike in protest of the attack.
The attack was the latest in a string of vandalism incidents in Arab villages over the past several months. Earlier this month, the words "Eviction order - Arabs Out" were scrawled (in Hebrew) on an interior wall of a mosque in Umm Al-Fahm, and a door leading to the outside had been burnt.
In addition, forty cars were found with their tires slashed in the Arab village of Jish in the Galilee; four vehicles were also vandalized and graffiti had been scrawled on the Dir-Rafat monastery near Beit Shemesh.
"Price tag" is a euphemism for politically-motivated vandalism and criminal damage usually attributed to Jewish extremists, carried out either in revenge for Arab terrorist attacks, or in protest of Israeli government policies such as the destruction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
It remains unclear whether any of the above incidents were actual "price tag" attacks, however, as an Arutz Sheva report in January revealed that in at least some of the cases, anti-Arab "price tags" were being systematically staged by Arab activists.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, the United States published inflammatory remarks about Israel and "settlers", as the State Department’s 2013 anti-terrorism report focused intensely on "extremist Israeli settlers" and called for them to be prosecuted by the UN.
The report cited "399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage" and deemed them "violent extremists" - mostly over "price tag" attacks against Palestinian Arab homes and property.