Jerusalem's largest multi-faith school targeted in suspected arson attack

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Sunday 30 November 2014 16:00
Israeli justice minister, Tzipi Livni, speaks to the press outside the Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem, Beit Safafa neighbourhood

A Hebrew-Arabic school in south Jerusalem was damaged by fire in a suspected arson attack last night.

The Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School, which is Israel's largest Jewish-Arab institution, was also vandalised with hateful messages like "There's no coexisting with cancer".

Haaretz reports that the school has repeatedly been targeted by right-wing groups over recent months with numerous anti-Arab slogans being plastered across its walls.

Graffiti displaying the words "death to Arabs" (Picture: Getty)

Even if they manage to dirty the school's walls, they will not manage to bring down our enterprise [of civil cooperation]. In addition... we invite the entire Israeli public to join us in the building of Jewish-Arab civil partnership in Israel.

We will continue to develop our educational and social project, where every day 1,200 students come to study, some 200 teachers come to teach, and in which thousands of family members are involved.

  • Hand in Hand statement

A number of members of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, spoke out against the attack.

Israel's education minister Shay Peron said it was "a violent, criminal and despicable incident…" and called on the police to bring to justice the "vile criminals" responsible.

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, also expressed his anger.

We will not allow pyromaniacs and criminals who take the law into their own hands to disrupt our daily lives.

We will continue to denounce the extremists and do whatever it takes to restore the quiet to Jerusalem.

  • Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat

However, the left-wing Meretz party have been quoted as saying the attack was a "direct result" of the proposed Jewish nation-state bill, which it said "gives legitimacy to damaging the fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs".

It is no coincidence that this violent act targeted those who wish to promote coexistence and equality.

  • Meretz party

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