Israel’s Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday described two violent attacks against Arabs over the weekend in the West Bank and Jerusalem as “hate crimes” and “terrorist acts.” He called the attacks “totally unacceptable and outrageous” and accredited the occurrences to a moral and educational failure that goes against both Jewish ethics and values.
Ya’alon wrote on his Twitter account that Israel cannot afford such occurrences and that it is the duty of elected officials to use the tools at their disposal to fight an all-out war to ensure these “heinous acts” are not repeated.
In one attack on Thursday night, described as a “lynch situation” by a witness, Jewish teenagers targeted three Arabs in downtown Jerusalem’s Zion Square. The beating left a 20-year-old Arab man in a critical condition. A 19-year-old Jewish Jerusalem man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the attack. Israel Police have said they expect to make additional arrests in the coming days.
In the other incident, also on Thursday, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Palestinian taxi outside the Gush Etzion settlement. Six people were lightly to moderately wounded, including two children.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack and vowed to bring to justice the perpetrators, relaying this in a rare phone call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The US State Department also issued a statement extending its “deepest sympathies” to the victims and wished them a speedy recovery. The statement noted that the Israeli government also condemned the attack and said it looked for Israeli law enforcement officials to bring the perpetrators to justice.