Two suspected Jewish extremist attacks in two days point toward Israel’s homegrown terrorism issue that Israel must address immediately.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man reportedly stabbed and wounded six participants, two of them seriously, in the annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem on July 30.
The suspect, later identified as Yishai Schlissel, was jailed for a similar attack 10 years ago. He was later disarmed and taken into police custody.
Less than a day after the knife attack, another suspected Jewish extremist attack took place in the occupied West Bank.
An 18-month-old toddler was killed after a Palestinian home in Duma, a village near the city of Nablus, was allegedly set on fire by Jewish right-wingers. The child’s parents and 4-year-old brother were also badly injured and taken to a hospital.
The house’s windows were smashed and fire bombs were thrown inside sometime before dawn as the family slept, the military and witnesses told Reuters. The attackers also scrawled graffiti outside that read “revenge” in Hebrew.
While no link has been established between the two separate attacks, right-wing extremists in Israel have in recent years carried out various attacks involving arson and racist graffiti, mainly in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
These “price tag” attacks, as they have been dubbed in the news, are committed by radical Jewish settlers who oppose curbs on settlement expansion – which are considered illegal under international law.
But it’s not just Arab Muslims the “price tag” group has targeted.
In June – as the United States was reeling from the Charleston church shooting – a group of Jewish fundamentalist teenagers allegedly set fire to a historically significant church on the Sea of Galilee where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of “The Feeding Of The 5,000” with five loaves and two fish.
The same people allegedly attacked the Dir Rafaat monastery, near Beit Shemesh west of Jerusalem in April 2014.
Though Israeli authorities have promised to crack down on such perpetrators, only a handful of indictments have been handed down. For instance, of the 16 youths arrested for the June 18 church arson, only three have been charged.
While Hamas is generally considered Israel’s real enemy, the increase in attacks by right-wingers such as Yishai Schlissel and the “price tag” group shows homegrown terrorism in the country is spiraling out of control.