An Arab resident living in the cemetery compound for the past 27 years was the one to call the police over the weekend to report the heinous crime.
- Anti-Arab hate slogans sprayed in Bat Yam
The tombstones were sprayed with the slogan "GA02," linked to the "Green Monkeys" – the nickname of Maccabi Haifa soccer fans.
Local residents claimed Sunday the police attempted to erase a "Price Tag" slogan, sprayed on another tomb nearby, making it hard for the detectives to examine it.
A Jaffa resident recalled seeing some people walking around the cemetery on the eve of Yom Kippur. "I wanted to go and take a look but I wasn't looking for trouble. I was afraid to intervene."
Another resident, whose family's tombstones were vandalized that night, blamed National-Religious members belonging to the Project Emunah, which have settled in the heart of the Arab population in Jaffa.
"We're no dummies," he said. "It was peaceful here for many years and suddenly, since they came here, trouble began in Jaffa and the police lets them do whatever they want."
"We look after our Jewish neighbors and their synagogues… and then these hooligan settlers come here and create provocations," he added.
'Crazy right-wing atmosphere'
Meanwhile, Ahmed Ashharawi, a member of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council, believes the perpetrators are just hooligans looking to stir up trouble.
However, Ashharawi did add that "it is clear that whoever was trying to create a provocation, and maybe even incite a clash between Jews and Arabs, was influenced by the crazy right-wing atmosphere existing in Israel recently."
On Sunday, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai met with Muslim and Christian clerics and expressed sorrow over the events. "I am ashamed to come here today under these circumstances. I am here to say I'm sorry on behalf of the State of Israel," he said. "It doesn't matter to me who wrote those racist messages and why. We need to solve the problems immediately and return to normal.
Huldai added: "I expect to see the hands of whomever is behind these racist messages cut off, no matter who they are. Everyone must know that we must live together and the police must catch these people."
Hassan Shaalan contributed to the report
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