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Radical Jewish youths ‘in survival mode state’ step up attacks against Arabs

With street violence against Arabs and the number of ‘price tag’ attacks, often involving Israeli youngsters, on the rise, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been forced to decry “racism against Israeli Arabs and acts of hooliganism against Palestinians.”

The latest vandalism attack saw offenders spray-painting their message on the walls of a Jerusalem church and damaging two cars parked nearby overnight.

On Friday the Dormition Abbey outside the Old City’s Zion Gate in Jerusalem also reported the spraying of offensive graffiti in Hebrew and the destruction of the church property, The Jerusalem Post reported. Radical Jewish settler sympathizers are suspected to be behind the assault. The perpetrators wrote “the Christians are apes” and “the Christians are slaves” on two cars parked outside the abbey in Beit Ilu Ramllah.

According to Israeli media, there has been a growing number of ‘price tag’ attacks in the country in recent months.

A Jerusalem municipality worker cleans anti-Christian graffiti reading in Hebrew, "Christians monkeys" that was daubed on the Church of the Dormition, one of Jerusalem's leading pilgrimage sites, on May 31, 2013 (AFP Photo / Ahmad Gharabli)

In May, five vehicles parked on one of the main streets in East Jerusalem were vandalized in another price tag attack, allegedly by Jewish extremists.

Price-tag attacks are the acts of violence and vandalism against Palestinians and Israeli security forces by radical Israeli settlers to exact a ‘price’ from both parties for any actions believed to be taken against their settlements.

In a showcase, Tel Aviv street cleaner Hassan Usruf was badly beaten up three months ago.

“One of them said to me ‘Hi Arab’, I said, ‘Why do you say that? What’s the difference - Arab, Jewish?’ Then another guy came up to me and said ‘You want a country, Arab?’” Hassan Usruf recalled. The next thing he remembered was being hit on the head with a bottle.

“Everything went black. I fell to the ground. They started kicking me and hitting me. My lawyer told me that when they were held by the police, they heard the kids competing among themselves who hit me the most,” Usruf told RT.

An Israeli border guard stands next to anti-Christian graffiti reading in Hebrew, "Jesus is monkey" that was daubed on the Church of the Dormition, one of Jerusalem's leading pilgrimage sites, early on May 31, 2013 (AFP Photo / Ahmad Gharabli)

The latest development provoked the prime minister to slam the violence.

“I wish to condemn two phenomena that we have witnessed recently: Racism against Israeli Arabs and acts of hooliganism against Palestinians, without any provocation or justification," Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday promising to “act with all legal means at our disposal to stop them."

‘Segregating’ amusement park draws public anger

Netanyahu also decried an act of segregation between Jewish and Arab school children at the Superland amusement park.

On Thursday the amusement park near Tel Aviv said it would reexamine its policy of renting out the one-stop entertainment shop on separate days to Jewish and Arab schools after it reportedly refused to open its doors to an Arab teacher who wanted to take his class there on a school trip. 

The park management explained in a statement, cited by Haaretz, that in June many different schools wanted to conduct end-of-school-year events at Superland with requests from Jewish and Arab schools alike to conduct their events on separate days.  

“Only yesterday, for example, two reservations were received from Arab schools that had requested that the event would be for Arab schools only, with no schools from the Jewish sector. Similar requests have come from the Jewish sector,” the management added.

Jerusalem municipality workers clean anti-Christian graffiti that was daubed on the Church of the Dormition, one of Jerusalem's leading pilgrimage sites, early on May 31, 2013 (AFP Photo / Ahmad Gharabli)

“The Superland management is very sensitive to the desires and feelings of all its patrons. As a result, during the next few days we will reevaluate the decision to accommodate the schools’ requests to have separate days,” the statement informed.

But some organizations, like the Shomer Hatza'ir Youth Movement that has become an educational and moral framework for thousands of young people in Israeli society, both Jewish and Arab, said they would not be going to Superland this summer after the management’s embarrassing behavior.

“Racism is something criminal and sick that has to stop, and be put at the top of public discourse in Israel,”
the movement explained in a statement. “If the Superland management conducts a thorough investigation and deals with those responsible for this embarrassing behavior, we will consider resuming cooperation with it.”

Israeli youth ‘inspired by grown-ups’?

While many blame the core structure of Israeli society and foreign policy for the gruesome situation, some also point out the young perpetrators could merely be following an example set by the older generation.

"They get the inspiration from the grown-ups. You don't show any signs you want peace, to live side by side, to resolve the conflict. So this stalemate causes tension, and all the wars and all the incidents and clashes that we see in the occupied territories and the general militant atmosphere creates a conflict which leads to hatred and legitimacy for violence," member of the Knesset Esawi Frej told RT.

The director of Child and Adolescent Clinical Services told RT that the youngsters behind the attacks probably suffer the psychological effects of surviving terrorist acts.

“Those adolescents were exposed to terrorist attacks and developed post-traumatic symptoms… they tend to exercise twice as much risk-taking behaviors. Attacking innocent people just because they are Arabs, with no provocation whatsoever. And that’s very typical to people who feel in survival mode state,”
Ruth Pat-Horencyzyk, explained.