Two Israelis charged over racist, anti-Arab vandalism

AFP , Monday 9 Jun 2014

Israeli prosecutors have charged two young Israelis with a racially-inspired attack in 2013 on dozens of Arab-owned vehicles in a village just outside Jerusalem, the justice ministry said on Monday.

During the incident in June last year, the tyres of 34 cars were punctured and racist slogans were scrawled on a wall in Abu Ghosh, an Arab-Israeli village west of Jerusalem.

A statement from ministry said Arye Pearl, a 21-year-old from the extremist settlement of Yitzhar in the northern West Bank, was charged with vandalism of property and cars with a racism motive at Jerusalem District Court on Monday.

The second suspect, whose identity could not be divulged since he was a minor at the time of the attack, was indicted on the same charges on Sunday at Jerusalem juvenile court, the ministry said.

According to the indictments, the suspects scrawled Hebrew graffiti on a wall reading: "Arabs out," and: "Racism or assimilation." Assimilation is a negative reference to Jews and non-Jews mixing.

Abu Ghosh is a village known for its good relations with Israel's Jewish majority which tends to attracts hordes of Israelis to its restaurants famed for their hummus and grilled meats.

Such attacks are known by the term 'price tag' - a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists aimed at Palestinian and Arab property, but have also targeted non-Jews and occasionally leftwing Israelis and the security forces.

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