Two days after unidentified assailants slashed the tires of 28 cars and daubed hate slogans on homes in the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh, the victims of the attacks - believed to have been carried out by Jewish extremists - voiced dismay that they are ineligible for compensation from the state.
Last week the government decided against defining as acts of terrorism these hate crimes perpetrated against Arabs, asserting instead that the assailants would be treated as members of illegal organizations.
According to jurists, this decision deems the victims of such crimes ineligible for compensation from the state. While those who possess comprehensive insurance may be reimbursed, most of the families and individuals targeted must cover the costs themselves.
On occasion, instead of receiving compensation from the state, the victims are handed a bill. Three months ago four cars in the northern village of Akbara were torched. A few days later, the owners of the vehicles were asked to pay for the firefighters’ services – NIS 400 per car.
"Clearly no one would have dared to send a receipt to the victims of Arab terrorism," said Gadi Gvaryahu, the founder of Tag Meir, a coalition of groups advocating for the rights of "price tag" victims. "The State of Israel must recognize victims of Jewish terrorism the same way it recognize victims of terrorism perpetrated by Arabs."
Dealing with these “price tag” attacks on Arabs by Israeli extremists necessitates more than simply arresting those who commit them. It also requires recognition from the government that the intent of the attacks is to terrorize people, as well as an understanding of the way in which people have been victimzed so that restorative efforts might be made.