Israeli police are investigating a possible hate crime after Christian families in the country found their car tires slashed and extremist graffiti written on vehicles and buildings on Tuesday.
Security footage shows three suspects in hooded sweatshirts slashing car tires in the predominantly Christian town of Jish. More than 150 cars were damaged, CBN News reports.
“I woke up at seven in the morning to take my kids to school and I heard noise outside,” Shadi Khalloul, an Aramaic Christian living in Jish told CBN News.
“I went to see what was happening. I see my father and the other neighbours and everyone standing near his car and looking very sadly at the car…they said someone punctured the car wheels.”
The three suspects also spray painted the Star of David on some of the cars and painted messages on buildings.
“Jews wake up. Stop assimilating!” one of the messages reportedly said.
Police believe the town was targeted by Jewish extremists.
Jish council head Elias Elias told reporters that this is not the first time residents in the area have dealt with Jewish extremists.
Khalloul said this was the third attack in 18 months.
“I’ve heard some people tell me ‘Look, what if they come and burn your house or burn your car or shoot at your home? Now they are puncturing wheels but what if worse comes?’” he told CBN News.
“These people should be treated like any terrorist and put in jail in order to educate others not to do this,” he added.
The town of Jish is predominantly Christian, but many Arab Muslims also live there.
“It is a peaceful Christian Aramaic town mixed with some Arab Muslims who are also peaceful. We live together in coexistence with our neighbours,” Khalloul told CBN News.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement regarding the attack, noting that they would “find the lawbreakers and bring them to justice.”
He warned, “We will not accept any attacks on our citizens.”