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Israel charges 2 Jews over anti-Palestinian attacks

May 29, 2014 10:01 P.M. (Updated: May 31, 2014 1:44 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Two suspected Jewish extremists have been charged with racially motivated attacks against Arab-owned property in Israel, the justice ministry said Thursday, after a wave of vandalism that provoked widespread outcry.

A 16-year-old arrested earlier this month for scrawling graffiti on and smashing the door and windows of a Druze dentist's practice in Yokneam, a majority-Jewish town in northern Israel, was charged on Thursday, the ministry said.

The minor's name was not made public, in accordance with Israeli law.

On Wednesday, prosecutors filed charges against Adir Yosef, 26, for damaging a car owned by a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship in Yokneam earlier in May.

According to the charge sheet, Yosef's alleged felony was part of a wave of 14 racist crimes that took place in and around Yokneam over the past three months.

So-called price tag attacks are nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists that mostly target Palestinian property, but have also included attacks on other non-Jews as well as left-wing Israelis and the security forces.

A spate of attacks preceded last week's visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land, prompting calls from some government ministers and security officials to label the attacks "terrorism."

Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, some Palestinians managed to remain in their villages and their descendants today make up around 20 percent of Israel's population.

While the majority of the 1.4 million Palestinians inside Israel, sometimes called Arab-Israelis, are Muslim, about 10 percent are Christian and around nine percent are members of the Druze minority.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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