Graffiti in Abu Ghosh
Graffiti in Abu GhoshIsrael news photo: Flash 90

An incident of suspected vandalism motivated by Jewish nationalism took place in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem overnight.

The tires of more than 20 Arab-owned cars were slashed and graffiti was scrawled in an apparent "price tag" attack, an AFP correspondent said on Monday.

Perpetrators drew a Star of David on one of the cars vandalized, and on the wall of a nearby home they wrote "we won't remain silent in the face of rock throwing," a reference to the extreme surge in Arab rock attacks against Jews in recent months.

The vandalism took place a short distance from the shopping mall of the adjacent neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev.

Police put the number of cars vandalized at 21 and said they had opened an investigation.

Last week 28 cars were vandalized in the Arab-Israeli town of Abu Ghosh, with graffiti scrawled nearby, in an attack that evoked strong condemnation from the Israeli political establishment. President Shimon Peres was on Monday to hold a solidarity visit to the town which lies west of Jerusalem.

The Israeli cabinet has recently decided to define "price tag" suspects as part of "unlawful organizations", stopping short of the original justice ministry proposal to call their acts "terrorism".

A police official recently told a parliamentary committee that in 2012 they had opened 623 files on price tag attacks, arrested 200 people and served 123 indictments in connection with such acts.

This year, the official said, police had opened 165 files on attacks, arrested 76 suspects and served 31 indictments, stressing these crimes were considered ideologically motivated "nationalistic crimes" and were a "top priority" for police.