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Israel's Channel 20 invites Hand in Hand School arsonist to speak

As violence and tensions rise in Gaza and southern Israel, Hand in Hand has had a shock that raises fears for our own schools’ safety. On November 11th, 2018, a public Israeli news channel, Channel 20 interviewed one of the arsonists who burned classrooms in the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School four years ago.

If you don’t remember, exactly four years ago, three people broke into our first grade classrooms on a Saturday evening. They gathered the books and papers that children had left in the classroom, poured lighter fluid and set them on fire. The rooms were destroyed. On the walls, they graffittied: “Death to Arabs.”

Yesterday, Yitzchak Gabbay, one of the arsonists, was invited to speak on a panel on Channel 20. He went through, in detail, exactly how they planned the arson attack – how they found the cameras, and figured out the best way to get in and to run away. “I assume,” asked the interviewer, “that you don’t want any young people to try to copy what you did, right?” Gabbay responded: “I’m not going to comment on what others should do – people should do what they want.” He continued: “It was worth it.”

The Hand in Hand community is horrified by the interview and are furious that a public news station gave him a platform, allowing him to incite violence.

Hand in Hand turned to the police and those responsible for school security in the city to take all necessary precautions and ensure that our students and schools stays safe.

Four years on, our school has more students, and a more established community. These kinds of acts will not deter us from our path – we will continue to walk towards shared living, Jews and Arabs, together.

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