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Price Tag and Extremist Attacks in Israel

Since 2008, there have been repeated attacks carried out by extremist Israeli Jews against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, often in reprisal for Israeli government action against illegal settlement activity. These attacks, which are frequently labeled “price tag” incidents, target mosques, churches, Arab and Jewish homes and property, Israeli military bases and vehicles, as well as other Israeli Jews. They involve the desecration of property with anti-Arab and anti-government slogans. Most of these attacks include the phrase “price tag” and are accompanied by hateful and racist slogans, the name of an illegal settlement, or a reference to an Israeli casualty of Palestinian terrorism, the implication being that the violent incident is the “cost” of Israeli government action on settlements or for anti-Israeli violence.

More recently, there have been a number of violent and deadly arson attacks carried out by extremists who, according to Israeli law enforcement, seek to destabilize the country and overthrow the Israeli government in order to establish a new regime to be based on Jewish law.

The Israeli police have established a special unit tasked with cracking down on those committing price tag assaults. The unit has thus far had minimal success.

On July 2, 2013, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced that price tag attacks would henceforth be defined as “illegal organizing” and treated in a similar fashion to acts of terror. Additionally, the Israeli Ministry of Education and the General Security Services (GSS) recently launched an educational program, called Hebrew Shepard, designed to work with the so-called Hilltop Youth (teenage Israeli settlers who are involved in establishing illegal outposts outside of existing settlements) to dissuade them from carrying out price tag attacks.

On December 22, 2014, two Jewish extremists were sentenced to 30 months in Israeli prison for carrying out Price Tag attacks, including setting several Palestinian vehicles on fire in a West Bank village. The two were also ordered to pay nearly $4000 in compensation to the owner of one of the cars.

In July 2015, two brothers - Shlomo and Nahman Twito - were sentenced to a two-year prison term for their involvement in the tourching of the Hand-in-Hand bi-lingual Hebrew-Arabic school in Jerusalem in November 2014. 

Following the July 31, 2015 killing of Palestinian child Ali Dawabsheh by Jewish extremists, the Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved the use of administrative detention against Jewish extremists. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon authorized the arrest and holding of suspects in the Dawabsheh killing and other recent incidents.

Many top Israeli leaders have condemned the price tag phenomenon and other extremist attacks, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, former President Peres and President Rivlin and other senior elected officials, religious leaders and members of civil society.

ADL has also taken a strong public position on the issue, and has repeatedly issued unqualified condemnations of price tag attacks, called on law enforcement officials to investigate suspected incidents and prosecute those responsible, and encouraged prominent Israel political, religious and societal leaders to speak out against the underlying hatred and racism that motivates price tag attacks. 

The following are examples of recent major price tag attacks and acts of violence against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians:

December 22, 2015 - Beitillu (West Bank) - Smoke grenades were thrown into a Palestinian. No one was injured. The words "revenge" and "hello from the detainees of Zion" were scrawled on the side of the home – a reference to Jewish extremists being held by the Shin Bet in relation to an attack on a Palestinian family's home in Duma that killed a baby and his parents earlier this year.

October 24, 2015 - Tsur Baher (East Jerusalem) - A car was set ablaze, and graffiti was spray painted on a nearby wall reading "Death to Arabs and "administrative revenge." 

July 31, 2015 - Duma (West Bank) - A two year old Palestinian child, Ali Dawabsheh, was burned to death after his house was set on fire. His parents and brother were wounded. Graffiti was found nearby saying "revenge,"  "Long Live Messiah the King" and a Star of David.  

June 30, 2015 - Jerusalem - The bilingual Hebrew-Arabic Hand-in-Hand school was spray painted with swastikas and a number of anti-Arab slogans, including Arabs to slaughter,” “Arab blood is cheap” and “Arab — the son of a whore.”