JERUSALEM (JTA) – A joint Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem was torched in what is believed to be an arson attack.
A classroom of the Max Rayne Hand In Hand Jerusalem School was set on fire late Saturday night. “Death to Arabs” and “There is no coexistence with cancer” were among the anti-Arab epithets spray-painted on the school walls.
A preliminary police investigation found that the blaze was intentionally set.
The school opened as usual on Sunday morning as city workers worked to remove the anti-Arab graffiti.
The Hand In Hand Jerusalem School is Israel’s largest joint Arab-Jewish school and the only such primary and high school in the city. Five Hand in Hand schools are located throughout the country.
Jewish-Arab tensions have risen in Jerusalem following a recent spate of violence.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the arson attack in a statement at the beginning of Sunday’s regular Cabinet meeting.
“We are making great efforts to restore calm and tranquility to Jerusalem,” he said. “Of course, we will not tolerate attacks from any quarter and we will not tolerate setting fire to a bilingual school as we saw last night.”
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro in a Facebook post also condemned the act while expressing support for the school, saying it “teaches its students the values of coexistence between Jews and Arabs, tolerance, and loving your neighbor as yourself.”
“They provide an impressive example of those same values to Israeli society,” Shapiro said. “Be strong and of good courage, and continue on you path.”