Fire breaks out at Arab-Jewish school for second time in a week

Second case of suspected arson at mixed Jewish-Arab school in Neve Shalom in central Israel.

Tags: Neve Shalom
Marcy Oster, JTA ,

Building fire (archive)
Building fire (archive)

For the second time in less than a week, a fire has damaged a Jewish-Arab school in the village of Neve Shalom near Jerusalem.

The fire started late Sunday night in the school’s library and was almost immediately extinguished.
The first fire early on Tuesday morning, hours before school was scheduled to start, caused extensive damage.

An investigation of suggested that it may have been caused by arson after flammable materials were found at the site, Walla reported. The second fire is also being investigated as arson, according to Hebrew-language reports citing fire officials.

Neve Shalom was founded in 1969 by Bruno Hussar, a Christian monk who was born a Jew in Egypt. The community, which aims to foster dialogue between Jews and Arabs, is home to a few dozen Jewish and Arab families.

Its school, one of only a handful nationwide for both Jewish and Arab students, uses both Arabic and Hebrew as languages of instruction.

The village has seen multiple incidents of vandalism, including graffiti and the slashing of tires in 2012. It is also situated in a valley prone to brush fires and its residents had to be evacuated briefly in November 2016.