Vandals leave anti-Arab grafitti on Israel mosque

An Arab Israeli man stands at the entrance of a mosque in the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Faham on April 18, 2014, after vandals left anti-Arab graffiti overnight and damaged a door of the building. -- PHOTO: AFP
An Arab Israeli man stands at the entrance of a mosque in the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Faham on April 18, 2014, after vandals left anti-Arab graffiti overnight and damaged a door of the building. -- PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Vandals left anti-Arab graffiti on a mosque in northern Israel overnight and damaged a door of the building, the Israeli police said on Friday.

"There was an incident in which graffiti was written on a mosque in the city of Umm al-Faham," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, adding that the words "Arabs Out" were painted in Hebrew.

"Such incidents aim to harm relations between Arabs and Jews," Israeli news site Ynet quoted the mosque's imam Jamil Mahagna as saying. "We demand the arrest of the criminals," he added.

The attack also drew the condemnation of an interfaith group representing the main Jewish, Christian and Muslim bodies in the Holy Land. "The Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land condemns the act of vandalism... (and) repeated desecrations of holy sites," it said in a statement.

The council urged the Jewish state to "intensify efforts to capture and bring the perpetrators to justice". It was the latest in a string of racist and religious attacks over past weeks.

Earlier this month, suspected Jewish extremists slashed the tyres of some 40 cars in an Arab village in northern Israel, and a Roman Catholic convent west of Jerusalem was vandalised by attackers who sprayed offensive graffiti on the walls and damaged five nearby cars.

Last month, vandals slashed the tyres of more than 40 cars in Arab east Jerusalem, spraying a slogan reading: "Gentiles in the land are enemies."