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.
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.
Many top Israeli leaders have condemned the price tag phenomenon, 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:
November 29, 2014 - Jerusalem - The bilingual Hebrew-Arabic Hand-in-Hand school was set on fire. A number of anti-Arab phrases were spray painted on school walls, including: "death to Arabs," “Kahane was right,” “down with assimilation” and “there is no coexistence with cancer.”
November 23, 2014 - Khirbet Abu Fallah (West Bank) - A Palestinian home was torched, and the phrases "death to the Arabs" and "avenge the blood of the fallen servants" was spray painted nearby.
October 30, 2014 - Jerusalem - The slogan "death to Arabs" was found spray painted on the exterior wall of the bilingual Hebrew-Arabic Hand in Hand Center for Jewish Arab Education.