It took Shin Bet and the police an entire year to track down an 18-year-old youth from the Yitzhar settlement for participating in hate crimes in Abu Ghosh village, near Jerusalem. In June 2013, he had punctured the tires of 34 cars in the village and spray-painted such racist epithets as “Arabs get out” on the walls of houses. Three weeks ago, at the conclusion of an undercover investigation, authorities succeeded in tracking down the youth and connecting him to the acts. On June 8, a bill of indictment was filed against him in Jerusalem’s district court.
That it took a long time for the police and Shin Bet to locate the perpetrator of the act is typical. It is well-known that only a small percentage of so-called price tag (hate crime) attacks are ever solved. Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonowitz have all been demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declare perpetrators of price tag attacks as members of a terrorist organization. Due to right-wing political pressure in recent weeks, however, Netanyahu once again rejected such demands, preferring instead to leave intact a previous decision, adopted in June 2013 by the diplomatic-security cabinet, that categorizes price tag participants as an “unauthorized organization,” similar to the charity organizations connected to Palestinian terror.