A Jerusalem mosque that was torched last week in a "price tag" operation turned into a platform for religious and secular teens who wished to demonstrate their aversion to the recent wave of attacks on Muslim holy sites. Fifteen students from the Eitan pre-military school in Ma'ale Adumim arrived at desecrated mosque Monday on a mission to clean up the hate graffiti that remained on its walls.
"This is not a political act," the teens stressed. "There has never been a reality in which Jews defaced prayer houses, and we won't allow it to happen now either."
- Jerusalem mosque falls prey to arson
- Hate slogans sprayed on mosque near Hebron
- Religious teens denounce violence against IDF
Yair Ansbacher, a rabbi teaching at the school, said that the activity was meant to show that the majority of settlers are against the hostile acts.
Teens cleaning mosque walls (Photo: Amichay Ben-Saadon)
"There are many opinions at the school, including opinions that are very Right-leaning… but they all oppose violence against IDF troops and vandalism – especially vandalism against places of worship," Ansbacher said.
"We are a small group of people who aim to right a wrong that was caused by another small group of people," he added. "(…) We have no intention to clash with anyone, but we do intend to speak out against the radicalization taking place in Israeli society."
The rabbi asserted that the "price tag" operations create a dangerous gap within Israeli society.
"This is not the true face of Judaism," he said. "We are erasing these slogans with hopes of erasing this stain."
MK Lia Shemtov (Yisrael Beiteinu) lauded the students' actions, and claimed that they are representative of the settler youth.
"Over the past few weeks there has been lame attempt to label all settlers as violent vandals, which is in fact not true," she said, noting that the highest rates of IDF enlistment often register in the settlements.
Shemtov condemned the recent "price tag" acts, saying that the vandals will be held responsible.