Mosque Set on Fire in Northern Israel


A mosque in an Arab village in northern Israel was set on fire early Monday in what the police called an arson attack, and an outside wall was defaced with Hebrew graffiti.
Residents of Tuba-Zangariya inspected damage to their mosque caused by what the Israeli police said was arson. It was the latest in a series of similar assaults on mosques.

The attack followed a series of similar assaults on mosques in the West Bank by arsonists suspected of being radical settlers as part of a campaign known as “price tag,” which seeks to exact a price from local Palestinians for violence against settlers or from Israeli security forces for taking action against illegal construction in Jewish outposts in the West Bank.
The attack on Monday was in the village of Tuba-Zangariya, in Galilee, where calm had prevailed for years.
The mosque was seriously damaged, said Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman. Images showed burned carpets and holy books and charred walls.
Later, about 200 villagers began to march along a road in the direction of Rosh Pina, a Jewish town. Mr. Rosenfeld said the police used tear gas to disperse the protesters after some threw stones at officers and burned tires on the road.
Israeli leaders condemned the attack on the mosque. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the images of the damage were “shocking” and had “no place in the state of Israel.”
The defense minister, Ehud Barak, said that the “criminals” involved wanted to upset Jewish-Arab relations.
The president of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the country’s chief rabbis visited the mosque in the afternoon in a show of solidarity with leading clerics from other faiths.
Sheik Fuad Zangariya, the imam of the mosque, told Israeli television that the village had always maintained friendly relations with neighboring Jewish communities. By evening, the atmosphere in the village was tense but calm.
Source: The New York Times | ISABEL KERSHNER

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