Schools, businesses and public services in Fureidis went on strike on Wednesday in protest of the price tag attack in the Arab town the day before.
"We don't want to wake up again to a similar incident here or elsewhere, it could lead to grave responses," Sheikh Abdel-Rahman Abu al-Haija said. "The residents answered our calls for a strike, I hope this helps eradicate this phenomenon."
No governing today. Council building closed. (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
On Tuesday morning, the residents of Fureidis woke up to find tires of some 20 vehicles in the town had been slashed, and graffiti of a Star of David and the writing "Close mosques, not yeshivot" was spray-painted on the walls of a mosque.
The residents decided not to clean the graffiti and several visitors have arrived at the scene Wednesday morning to express their disgust of the attack.
The writing is still on the wall (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
Sheikh Abu al-Haija said the town's residents demanded authorities to quickly find the perpetrators of the attack.
"We want to see arrests, that's what's important to us. If this doesn't happen, the holy places will be in danger," he said.
"This is a grave and dangerous attack, we hope the government takes this matter seriously until the criminals are found," said Zaeed Mahssan, a resident of Fureidis.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog visited the head of the Fureidis council, Yossef Meree, on Wednesday morning.
Isaac Hezog and Fureidis council head Yossef Meree (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
"I'm here not as an opposition or coalition, but because the people of Israel were shocked and outraged of this wrong and awful phenomenon of 'price tag.' I'm here to condemn this phenomenon," Herzog said.
"In recent years, there were hundreds of hate crimes and while I know the police and the Shin Bet and other security forces are doing everyhing, they need to be given similar tools to those used in the fight against terror. This is terror," he added.
Sami Ali, chairman of the Arab National Committee in neighboring town Jisr az-Zarqa, condemned the attack and laid the blame on the Israeli police and government.
"I accuse the police of negligence by releasing the criminals and the perpetrators of 'price tag' attacks. The responsibility for the rise in these attacks is on the police and the government. They are not doing enough to eradicate this problem and crime, which brought to the growth of terror gangs against Arabs."
No hummus today. Strike in Fureidis (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
"These gangs are not acting alone - they are being sponsored and supported by extreme racist Jewish individuals and organizations. These are spiritual fathers to these crimes, they feed it with hatred, jealousy and racism and the people on the field turn it into action against Arabs, and Muslim and Christian holy sites. These organizations are trying to undermine our existence and work to instill racist messages that the Arabs are unequal (to Jews) and have no rights," Ali went on to say.
Some 2,500 people protested against the price tag attack in Fureidis on Tuesday night, including people and the neighboring Zikhron Ya'akov, who displayed signs that said "We support our neighbors," "Bibi, Bennett, and Lapid – arrest the criminals" and "Price tag - terror."
Protesting in Fureidis (Photo: George Ginzburg)
President Peres spoke with the head of the local council and condemned the event: "I apologize to the victims on behalf of the citizens of this country. We will do everything in our power to maintain the good relations between Jews and Arabs in the town and its surrounding."
Peres promised to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and emphasized that "these despicable acts oppose the foundations of Jewish faith and morals."