Strong Condemnations After Arson Of Arab-Jewish School

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Firefighters and police at the scene where arsonists set fire to a classroom in a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school in Jerusalem and wrote graffiti on the walls. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Firefighters and police at the scene where arsonists set fire to a classroom in a bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school in Jerusalem and wrote graffiti on the walls. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Suspected Jewish extremists set fire to a classroom in an Arab-Jewish school in Yerushalayim, police said on Sunday.

The premises were empty when assailants torched a classroom used by first-graders at the Hand in Hand school, where Palestinian and Israeli children study together in Hebrew and Arabic.

“Death to Arabs” had been scrawled on a schoolyard wall.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the slogan pointed to “nationalist motives.”

More than 600 pupils attend Hand in Hand. From pre-school to high school, its student population is divided equally between Jews and Arabs. There are four other such schools in the Hand to Hand network in Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the arson at the school. “We are making great efforts to restore peace and quiet to Yerushalayim,” he said at a cabinet meeting.

Other politicians issued condemnations as well, including Education Minister Shai Piron, who visited the school; Justice Minister Tzipi Livni; Yerushalayim Mayor Nir Barkat; Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On; and MK Amram Mitzna, head of the Knesset Committee on Education, Culture and Sports.