Police were shocked to find two swastikas and graffiti painted on a prominent Jewish leader's tomb on Tuesday, in an apparent "price tag" incident by Arabs against Jews.
The vandalism was found on the Halafta tomb compound in the Beit Hakerem Valley, near the northern city of Carmiel. The graffiti, which read "pay the price tag," was sprayed on the distinctive domes at the gravesite (pictures below).
Halafta was a Tannaic Rabbi and the father of a major Mishnaic scholar, Rabbi Yose Ben Halafta, who was a disciple of Rabbi Akiva.
Carmiel police have opened an investigation but have not yet made any arrests, officials announced Tuesday. The crime has been regarded as a hate crime.
Israel has seen several hate crimes against Jews, local media noted, the most notorious being the defacement of a memorial in Be'er Sheva 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.
"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.
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", though such incidents have received far less media coverage.