Far-right Jews jailed for attacking school in Jerusalem

Far-right Lehava group members jailed for arson of co-existence school in holy city

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Jerusalem court has sentenced a far-right Jewish activist to three years in prison for setting fire to a Jewish-Arab school last year

A far-right Jewish activist was sentenced on Tuesday to three years imprisonment after attacking a Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem.

No one was hurt in the attack carried out by 24-year-old arsonist Yitzhak Gabbai, who is a member of Lehava, an anti-Arab group.

A Jerusalem court found that he and two accomplices set fire to a classroom in the “Hand in Hand” school a year ago.

“Death to Arabs” was written on the wall of the school which was a rare symbol of co-existence in the holy city.

One of Gabbai's accomplices received a two-and-a-half-year jail term in July and the other received a two-year sentence.

"It was a very scary night and a very difficult morning, but they didn't scare us and they are not going to derail us from our way, from the values we choose to educate our children in the way of life we chose living together and studying together Jews and Arabs here in Jerusalem," said Gili Rei, mother of a student of Jewish-Arab “Hand in Hand” school.

More than 600 children attend Hand in Hand schools, where the schools have equal numbers of both Jewish and Arab children in the region.

Meanwhile, some far-right Jewish activists protested on the roads outside of the Jerusalem YMCA (The Young Men's Christian Association) over an event that encouraged Jewish children to decorate Christmas trees.

Activists that were members of Lehava claimed that Sunday's event of decorating trees was aimed at Jewish children but the event was intended for Jerusalem Christians.

Israeli leaders have vowed to put a stop to anti-Arab hate crimes in Israel and Palestine.

Israeli media on Sunday reported a breakthrough in "a recent major case of Jewish terrorism," but the details are under a gag order.

A police spokesman did not specify as to whether or not this breakthrough was related to a July 31 torching of a Palestinian home by suspected Jewish attackers in the occupied the West Bank.

Three members of a family, which included an 18-month-old boy were killed in that attack.

This bloody incident which took place on July 31, was condemned by people from all parts of the country, both from Israelis and Palestinians.

The incident angered Palestinians and ever since there have been almost daily stabbings, car ramming and shootings by both Palestinians and Jewish people.

Israeli forces have killed 97 Palestinians, of whom 58 were allegedly assailants or caught on camera carrying out assaults, while the others were killed in clashes with police or the military.

19 Israelis and one US citizen have been reportedly killed by Palestinians since October 1.

TRTWorld and agencies