Tuba Zangaria Mosque Arson

Zangaria Mosque
The Burned Mosque Interior

The mosque is in the village of Tuba-Zangaria, a Bedouin town of some 5,500 people two kilometers east of Rosh Pina. At around 2:30 A.M. on Monday morning, October 3, 2011 the Mosque was set on fire. The mosque's interior was seriously damaged, and many holy books were destroyed by the blaze The whole mosque was burned: the carpet, the books, and the Korans.

In addition to the scorched interior, graffiti had been spray-painted on the exterior walls. The Hebrew words for price tag, revenge, and Palmer were the primary comments seen. Palmer is believed to be a reference to a September 23 incident in which Palestinians threw stones at a car driven by Asher Palmer, a recent settler. One of the stones may have hit him in the head, causing the car to crash and overturn. The 25-year-old Palmer and his year-old son both died in the accident.

The Israeli government condemned the attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

This is an act which is against the values of the state of Israel, which places supreme importance on freedom of religion and freedom of worship.

Netanyahu asked the Shin Bet security service to put extra effort in finding the perpetrators of the mosque burning.

On Monday, President Shimon Peres, visited the village and its burned mosque. He was accompanied by chief rabbis Shlomo Moshe Amar and Yona Metzger as well as Muslim, Christian and Druze leaders. Peres said that

The whole nation is standing by by the people of Tuba Zangaria. This attack is anti-religion, anti-Jewish and anti-moral and that we will not rest until such incidents are eradicated from the land of Israel. We will mete out justice to those responsible.

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger joined the condemnation. He also criticized non-Jewish clerics demanding that he condemn such acts while they remain silent after Arab terrorists attack Jews.

Several hours after the arson, a youth was arrested. He was taken into custody by a routine police patrol that spotted his vehicle and suspected that he was using it illegally. Two other individuals who were in the car at the time were arrested as well, but were released shortly thereafter.

On Sunday, the Petach Tikvah Magistrate's Court remanded the youth as a suspect in the arson attack for two days. The court later recommended to release him for lack of evidence. But pressured by police, Justice Shalhevet Kamir-Weiss extended the remand. At the deliberation additional proof was received that there is no evidence in the case. The court was ready to release the youth. However, investigators from the National Unit of Serious and International Crime Investigations refused and demanded an additional six-day extension on his remand. In the end the judge extended his remand by two additional days in order to allow the additional investigative activity.

Although the suspect was in remand for over a week, he was not interrogated after his initial interrogation. His parents and elderly grandmother, though, were interrogated. In the end there was not enough evidence for the indictment of the youth and he was released.

The left wing Israeli newspapers as well as the the Shin Bet security service framed this attack as a revenge attack by right wing settlers to get even for the Palmer death. But there is some inconsistency with this. There is no reason that the settlers would be upset with the people of Tuba-Zangaria. In fact, the relations between the people of Tuba-Zangaria and the peoples of the nearby Jewish towns have been consistently friendly, with very little tension.

A better explanation is that this arson attack on the mosque was an act planned and executed by the Israeli left who worked with some Arabs against the Israeli government. It was a provocation for the express purpose of giving the right wing settlers a black eye. In fact, this was the seventh Mosque burning for which nobody was indicted. The chief Sephardic rabbi, Shlomo Amar, claimed that the torching of the mosque in village of Tuba Zangaria was not committed by Jews, and it was aimed at inflaming the conflict and increasing the hatred between Jews and Arabs. He said

We condemn this act, which only caused damage.

In media interviews he said that the provocation was carried out as a blood libel by someone who wanted to slander the people considered suspects in this act and increase hatred between Jews and Arabs.

Indeed it is Rabbi Amar's claim that we will investigate with Torah code tables.

Mosque Arson
Arson at the Zangaria Mosque