An integrated school for Arab and Jewish children in Jerusalem was the target of an arson attack.
The attack, which targeted the Hand-in-Hand bilingual school, is suspected to have been carried out by Jewish extremists, as graffiti scrawled on a wall read “death to Arabs”, and “there’s no coexistence with cancer”.
Headmistress Nadia Knane said that one of the first-grade classrooms had received extensive damage from the fire.
“After I saw what was written, I realised it was not just a fire,” she said. “They wrote ‘Death to Arabs’… words which have a lot of meaning.”
She also said that this was not the first time the school was targeted for attack.
“The school had been targeted several times in recent months but every other time was outside the school. This is the first time it was inside,” she said.
The attack was condemned by community leaders in the area.
“Whoever hurts this type of coexistence no longer only hurts Arabs but Jews as well, hurts an idea and an ideal that has existed for 15 years,” said Hatem Matar, Head of the Parent Teachers’ Association. “This is very sad but at the same time I think our community’s embrace yesterday empowers us.”
The attack was also condemned by several Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We are making great efforts to restore peace and quiet to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Of course we will not tolerate attacks from any side and we will not tolerate setting fire to the bilingual school as we saw last night. We condemn any such attempt and we will act decisively with unity to restore quiet and enforce law and order in all parts of Jerusalem.”