Attacks on Palestinians kindle debate on values


JERUSALEM — Two vicious attacks on Palestinians, presumed to be the work of Jews, have some Israelis worried that their society is increasingly tolerant of hate crimes.

Over the weekend, unknown assailants firebombed a Palestinian taxi in the West Bank. Hours later, a mob of Jewish teens beat a 17-year-old Palestinian unconscious in downtown Jerusalem.

Israeli leaders have condemned the violence. President Shimon Peres today said he was “mortified” by the “intolerable” attack on the teen.

Others are cautioning against making broad indictments of Israeli society, arguing that incidents of violence and intolerance are not widespread, despite constant tensions from the longstanding conflict between Arabs and Jews.

One suspect in the attack on the Arab teen hinted at the corrosive effect of that conflict when he declared outside court on Monday, “He could die for all I care — he’s an Arab.”


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