Amidst a series of audacious attacks carried out apparently by young Israeli settlers this week, one of the extremists’ targets stood out. It was a site I’d never heard of right in the centre of the city: The Nebi Akasha mosque, built more than 800 years ago. They spray-painted on the outside stone walls and on the green metal doors things written in Hebrew such as “Mohamed is dead,” “Mohamed is a pig,”(God forbid) and “price tag,”(God forbid) a reference to the costs that Muslim and other Arab institutions will pay if Israel moves to dismantle any Jewish settlements or outposts in the West Bank.
Avi Mayer, a Jewish guy in a trim wool sweater and red kippa (skull cap) that was painting the green doors, covering the hateful words. He is not a municipal worker and has no connection to the mosque or playground. He said he works a few blocks away, at the Jewish Agency, and heard what had been done. He came right over.
“The foreman of the crew that was here this morning told me it’d be a few days before a painting crew could come by,” said Mr. Mayer. “I couldn’t stand the idea of these hateful things being seen by everyone for so long a time.” So Mr. Mayer went to the nearest hardware store and, with his own money, bought some green paint, cleaning fluid and some brushes and returned to quietly cover things up himself. A friend helped try to clean off the blackened stones around the window, with little success. But Mr. Mayer was doing a fine job on the metal doors. “This kind of thing isn’t good for anyone,” he said of the graffiti and the resentment it breeds. “I’m ashamed that it’s happened here.”