Some bereaved families were upset on Monday with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, after he focused in a Memorial Day speech on “price tag” operations attributed to Jewish extremists.
The families found it strange that the defense minister centered his speech on relatively light crimes of vandalism carried out by Jews, in a ceremony for people who lost their loved ones in wars and terrorism, predominantly carried out by Arabs.
Many families did not want to talk to reporters about the matter, but Zehava, sister of a fallen soldier, told Arutz Sheva: “It is clear that Price Tag is a despicable and unnecessary phenomenon that is carried out by a few criminals, but why does Ya'alon choose to mention these marginal matters in the difficult moments after the siren sounded?"
"We came here, families from all over Israel, in order to be at one with our loved ones, and to hear words about the courage of the fallen, who fell when protecting the nation and the Land."
"The families did not come all the way here to hear the Defense Minister talking about Price Tag,” she stated. "In Yafo (Jaffa), the Arabs desecrated Israeli flags, and there are hate graffiti against Jews and destructions of synagogues in various places countrywide. But the debate about these repulsive phenomena should not be conducted here, in this holy place.”
'An iron fist' against 'price tag terror'
Speaking at a military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Yaalon said Israel must strive to be a nation that fights xenophobia and racism, in remarks referring to the allegedly growing wave of so-called "price tag" vandalism.
Israel "must fight with an iron fist against the terrorism which is wrongly called 'price tag' - an ugly phenomenon which has no connection to Jewish values and morals, and whose aim is to harm Arabs only because they are Arabs," Yaalon said.
"There is a lot of work ahead of us: we must strive to be a state... that fights to the end against racism, against violence and against xenophobia," the minister said.
The media has focused widespread condemnation on "price tag" vandalism, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and others swiftly condemning an alleged "price tag" act last week following a report from the US State Department defining such vandalism as "Jewish terrorism."
Meanwhile 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.
There have also been numerous incidents of Arab "price tagging," such as the scrawling of Arabic graffiti praising terrorism in February on the Tomb of Elazar Hacohen, the son of Moses's brother Aaron from the Torah, as well as numerous incidents of desecration of Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives. Such cases have received remarkably less public and police attention.
Memorial Day was similarly marred by vandalism targeting not Arab but rather Israeli memorial sites, as anonymous vandals destroyed an Israeli flag and the flagpole it was on at a monument to fallen IDF soldiers in the Golan on Monday.
Another memorial in the southern city of Be'er Sheva was defaced by anonymous vandals on Sunday. The monument is located at a local high school and commemorates graduates of the school who had fallen in the line of duty.