"Death to Arabs" Graffitied on the Walls of the Jerusalem School

July 27th, 2014

“Death to Arabs” was scrawled twice on the entrance to the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School. We are not alone. The atmosphere in Israel in difficult and this kind of hateful and threatening vandalism, which has increased in the past few years, has intensified in the recent conflict.

We immediately responded. We called the police. Paz Cohen, a parent at the school and the chair of the municipal Parents’ Association, came to see the graffiti and contacted the mayor, the police chief, and the Ministry of Education supervisor. The mayor dropped what he was doing right away to make sure that the vandalism would be erased by the morning when the children would come into camp.

The principals of the school, Nadia Kennan and Arik Sporta, said:

“This is very worrisome and hurtful, but it does not frighten us. Our school will continue to educate towards love of our fellow human beings, mutual listening and true cooperation between Jews and Arabs.”

A message from the Parents' Association:

These days are difficult for all of us, days of insecurity and fear of the violence and insanity that has taken over our public space. Instead of enjoying vacation, we weigh every decision to leave the house and live with the fear of violence and racism around us. The presence of the Hand in Hand community in the shared marches along the Mesila Park reflect a natural and authentic desire to be present in the space close to us and express our mutual destiny and our hope for shared living.

To our dismay, while we are writing this, we found out about the “Death to Arabs” vandalism at the entrance to our school. We are determined to continue to nurture cooperation between Jews and Arabs.  Especially during these difficult days, it is clear to us that standing together against these horrible events is the answer to the violence around us.

While the general atmosphere is burning with hatred and death, we will continue to sprout sparks of love of life and solidarity between us. The Parents Committee will continue to lead and conduct a discourse of cooperation between us.

We will finish with the words of one of the high school students at the beginning of the latest round of violence:

“The reality we live in is difficult and almost leads to despair, but we do not give up on the dream, on the aspiration to live calmly, in solidarity and peace, and we expect everybody to join in and help us fulfill this dream. Not with violence, but with tolerance.”

Despite the difficulty, we wish all of our Muslim friends a happy holiday,

In hopes for days of reconciliation and compassion,

Hattem Mattar and Ronit Rosenthal, Co-Chairs of the Jerusalem Parents’ Committee

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