Israeli authorities on Sunday opened an investigation into a suspected price tag incident in which hate graffiti against Arabs was sprayed in a construction site near Jerusalem, Israeli media reported.
The anti-Arab graffiti slogans were found in a construction site in Kiryat Ye'arim (Telz Stone) near Jerusalem, home to a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish community adjacent to the Arab town of Abu Ghosh.
The slogans read "price tag" and "Kahana was right." Meir Kahana was a right wing extremist rabbi and politician who advocated the forceful expulsion and violence against Arabs, whose political party was banned from the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in 1985 due to its racist nature.
According to the Ma'ariv daily, a security guard at the site said he left the area for a couple of hours overnight and found the graffiti upon his return.
Price tag attacks are acts of vandalism and violence and other types of hate crimes perpetrated by Jewish ultra-nationalists, usually in retaliation to government policies against the settlers. The attacks usually target Palestinians and their property, as well as Muslim and Christian religious establishments.
There has been an upsurge in price tag incidents recently. On Saturday, over thirty olive trees of Palestinians were uprooted in the West Bank Palestinian village of Nahalin.
Also on Saturday, tires of an Arab resident of Acre were slashed and a Star of David was drawn on the vehicle along with graffiti reading "price tag." On Wednesday, unknown perpetrators vandalized an Arab Israeli vehicle in Nazareth in northern Israel. His tires were also slashed and graffiti was spray painted on his car. On Tuesday, vandals slashed tires of twenty cars and vandalized a mosque in the northern town of Furadis, only two weeks after another mosque was vandalized in the northern Arab city of Um El Fahem, in which a door of a mosque was torched.
The vandals in Furadis sprayed hate graffiti on the walls of the mosque, reading "shut down mosques, not yeshivas (Jewish ultra- orthodox seminaries)," among others.
According to figures released by the United Nations, the number of attacks against Palestinians almost quadrupled in the last eight years, increasing from 115 in 2006 to 399 in 2013. However, indictments were filed in only 8.5 percent of the cases.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out against Price Tag perpetrators last week in a visit to Furadis. However, the U.S. State Department implied in an internal report last week that Israeli authorities are not doing enough to catch price tag perpetrators.