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Jewish extremist sentenced to 3 years for Jerusalem school arson

AFP , Tuesday 1 Dec 2015
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A Jewish extremist convicted of arson over the burning of an Arabic-Hebrew bilingual school seen as a rare symbol of coexistence in Jerusalem was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday, the court said.

Yitzhak Gabai, 23, was found guilty in the November 2014 attack that saw a first-grade classroom badly damaged and slogans in Hebrew reading "Death to Arabs" and "There's no coexistence with cancer" scrawled on the walls.

The attack at the Hand-in-Hand school sparked a wave of condemnation and took place amid months of rising tensions and unrest in Jerusalem.

Gabai's accomplices, brothers Nahman and Shlomo Twitto, 19 and 21, have already been sentenced to two and two and a half years in prison.

The Shin Bet internal security agency has said the three were members of Lehava, an extremist group which fights against intermarriage.

Lehava activists follow the teachings of the late Meir Kahane, a virulently anti-Arab rabbi whose Kach party was banned in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials condemned the attack at the school, which is on the Green Line separating west Jerusalem from the annexed eastern sector and has 624 pupils.

Prosecutors recommended a sentence of between four and seven years for Gabai and said they planned to appeal, calling the jail term too light.

He was given two years for arson, 10 months for inciting violence on Facebook and two months for weapons possession.

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