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After attack, Israelis show support for bilingual school

Around 2,000 people from across Israel — Jews and Arabs, religious and secular — marched in support of the Hand in Hand bilingual school in Jerusalem after it was tagged and set on fire by extremists.
A worker cleans up in a torched classroom in an Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem November 30, 2014. Suspected Jewish extremists set fire to the classroom, police said on Sunday, targeting a symbol of co-existence in a city on edge over a recent surge in violence.

Arik Saporta, principal of the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Bilingual School in Jerusalem, at first estimated that 500 people would come to a march in support of the educational institution after one of its classrooms was set on fire Nov. 29, apparently by right-wing extremists, who also tagged the walls with racist graffiti. Later, trying not to raise expectations too high, Saporta hedged, telling Al-Monitor, “Maybe only a hundred people will show up.”

On Dec. 5, however, you could see the excitement on Saporta's face, as some 2,000 people of all ages from across the country took part in a short march along the Train Track Park, which passes through the Beit Safafa neighborhood, to the school. Various activities for kids — including a clown performance, a cheerful band, food stands and inflatable bouncers — were set up at the school.

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