JERUSALEM (The Blaze/AP) -- Vandals attacked a monastery in Jerusalem and a prominent school with a mixed Jewish-Arab student body on Tuesday, and police said they suspected Jewish extremists were behind the violence.
"Death to Christians" and other Hebrew-language graffiti was scrawled on the Greek Orthodox monastery in Jerusalem (tradition says that the tree used to make Jesus’s cross once stood at this location), while "Death to Arabs" was sprayed across a wall outside the bilingual "Hand in Hand" school in another part of the city. Haaretz has more:
Jerusalem police are investigating both incidents, and still unsure whether the two events are connected.
The bilingual school is a symbol of coexistence in Jerusalem, in which half the students are Jews and half are Arab who study together in both languages.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that "price tag" was also painted at the monastery - a reference to a practice of Jewish extremists who lash out against the Israeli government for actions against settlers.
Reuters further explains "price tag":
The term refers to retribution the settlers say they will exact for any attempt by the Israeli government to curb settlement in the West Bank, an area Palestinians seek as part of a future state. “Price Tag” attacks have targeted mosques, Palestinian homes and Israeli military installations in the occupied West Bank but vandalism of Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is extremely rare.
Israel's Army Radio reported that "Maccabees of Migron" was painted on the monastery, too. Maccabees were ancient Jewish heroes, and Migron is an unauthorized settlement facing a court-ordered evacuation next month.
In the West Bank, Palestinians said "Mohammed is a pig" and other hateful slogans were also found spray-painted near a gas station of an Arab village. Rosenfeld had no information about that incident.
Hard-line settlers believe Israel has a God-given right to the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in 1967, and reject Palestinian claims to those lands.
Extremists, believed to be young Jewish settlers, have carried out dozens of attacks on Palestinians over the past two years, chopping down olive trees, vandalizing agricultural land and setting fire to mosques. Few arrests have been made.
The Abraham Fund Initiatives, which operates educational coexistence projects between Jewish and Arab citizens, condemned the graffiti at the Jerusalem school, one of the few places in the city where Jews and Arabs work and study together.
"The political violence against Arab citizens, dubbed 'price tag,' is aimed this time toward education for shared living between Arabs and Jews in Israel," it said. "This is an attack on a place that represents the wish of Arabs and Jews to build together a better future for their children."