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 have been 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 including the phrase “price tag”, often 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.
Last year the Israeli police 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.
Many top Israeli leaders have condemned the price tag phenomenon, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres 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:
October 13, 2014 - Aqraba - A West Bank mosque was vandalized. A firebomb was thrown inside damaging several holy books and rugs and ultra-nationalist grafitte was sprayed on the outside of the building.
May 23, 2014 - Be'er Sheva - Graffiti reading "Jesus is a son of b***h" was spray painted on the entrance of an Old City church.
May 3, 2014 - Bat Ayin (West Bank) - Thirty-five olive trees belonging to local Palestinians were destroyed, and graffiti reading "Arabs are thieves" and "price tag" was found near the trees.
May 2, 2014 - Nesher - Graffiti with the slogans "price tag Tzipi Livni" and "thanks for Memorial Day" were found scrawled on a nearby Arab cemetery.