Jewish-Arab Clashes Spread Across Israel

At least 20 people arrested so far in Lod, and police have since begun clashing with far-right Jewish extremists in the city ■ Riots resume in Lod ■ Jews smash Arab-owned shops in Bat Yam

12 May 2021 | Bar Peleg | Haaretz

Clashes between Arabs and Jews have spilled over, on Wednesday night, to additional Israeli cities, as violence resumed for the third consecutive day.

In the northern mixed Arab-Jewish city of Acre, five Israeli Arabs have attacked a 30-year-old Jewish man, who was seriously wounded and was evacuated to hospital. Before the incident, police instructed Arab shop owners to shut them in advance of the expected arrival of a group of right-wing extremists. Moreover, police have arrested overnight Wednesday a 25-year-old Acre resident who allegedly has shot toward police officers in the scene.

In the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, a mob of right-wing Jewish extremists pulled an Arab driver out of his car and beat him. He was evacuated for medical treatment in serious condition, but the 33-year-old victim’s condition has since improved, following a night of extensive treatment. Prior to the event, dozens of right-wing activists marched in the city and attacked a number of Arab-owned businesses. The rioters smashed glass windows, threw objects and chanted racist slogans.

“The Israeli police will not allow public disturbances, violence and attempts to hurt officers,” police, which were not stationed at the scene amid reports, said in a statement. Moreover, police have opened an investigation. “We will get to each and every one of the attackers who participated in this horrifying lynching,” police said. In a different part of the city, a police car was torched.

Bat Yam Mayor Tzvika Brot said that the rioters were not residents of the city and that events had been organized by “provocateurs who arrived from outside the city and came here to commit vandalism.” He added that police had information about this in advance and deployed in large numbers. 

Israeli paramedics evacuate an Arab Israeli man after an attempted lynch by Jewish rioters in Bat Yam, today.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

In the mixed Arab-Jewish city of in Lod, the violence resumed on Wednesday when several Jewish Israelis approached the mourning tent of Moussa Hassouna, who was shot and killed by a Jewish man during riots in the city on Monday. Mutual stone-throwing commenced, and police responded by firing stun grenades to disperse both crowds. At least 20 people were arrested. Police also clashed with far-right Jewish extremists in the city.

A Jewish man was shot and suffered moderate-to-serious wounds, as well as two other Jews who suffered moderate stabbing wounds. In addition, a 42-year-old Arab resident of Lod checked into one of the city’s hospitals with moderate gunshot wounds. Twenty people from Lod were also admitted to Shamir Medical Center, including a heavily pregnant woman with a head injury. She gave birth successfully but she remains in an intensive care unit in a serious condition. Nine patients remain in a moderate condition, while the rest have been released. 

Earlier, some 200-300 right-wing activists have been trying to make their way to the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Lod, and were pursued by police. From the surrounding windows, residents are hurling rocks at the activists.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israel Police announced the nighttime curfew in the mixed Arab-Jewish city following protests that spilled into attacks and violent clashes between Jews and Arabs on Tuesday night.

The curfew, which was set to go into effect from 8 P.M. until Thursday at 4 A.M., restricts all residents to their homes and bars the entry of non-residents.

Police beefed up forces in the city after a state of emergency was declared. In a statement, police said the unusual measures are meant to “maintain the safety and security of Lod residents and safeguard their property.”

Five hundred Border Police officers have been placed in the city. Residents will be allowed to enter the city only if they are returning from work.

In the northern city of Or Akiva, a 30-year-old Israeli Arab man was seriously wounded in rampage by Jews on a main highway nearby. A police officer suffered a hit to her head and six of the rioters were arrested.

In Jerusalem, a 25-year-old man has suffered a puncture wound following a fight in the Mahaneh Yehuda market in the city. 

A truck burns at the entrance of the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod, todayCredit: AHMAD GHARABLI – AFP

In the city of Tiberias, an Arab driver was attacked and lightly wounded when he accidentally passed through the location where right-wing extremists were marching, police said. A policeman protecting the driver was lightly wounded by a stone that was thrown at them, and four people were arrested, according to the police statement. Riot police were deployed to the scene.

In the northern Arab city of Tamra, a 50-year-old Jewish man, who accidentally entered the city, was assaulted and stabbed in the neck. He was evacuated to hospital in Haifa in a moderate condition.

In the northern city of Haifa, a 20-year-old Arab driver who found himself surrounded by a Jewish mob was assaulted. As he was trying to flee the scene he run into one of the rioters and was arrested. Following investigation of security footage, firefighters determined that a blaze which broke out overnight was arson. 

An Arab-owned eatery in Bat Yam surrounded by broken glass, tonight.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

In the southern Bedouin town of Hura, a community police station was set on fire.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin harshly condemned Tuesday’s “pogrom” and riots “by an Arab mob,” and was critical of what he called “the silence of Arab leaders” in Israel on the events.

rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the incidents are reminiscent of “sights from our people’s past, and we cannot accept that.” During a visit in the northern city of Acre, where businesses were torched the night before, he vowed to “stop anarchy” and “bring back sovereignty to Israel’s cities with an iron fist if necessary.”

Video screenshot. Watch here

Live TV shows Israeli mob attack motorist they believed to be an Arab

13 May 2021 | Agency files | Guardian

As airstrikes and rocket fire continued across Israel and Gaza, towns with mixed Jewish and Arab populations have been struck by some of the worst communal violence that Israel has seen in years.

Late on Wednesday a mob of far-right Israelis dragged a man they thought was an Arab from his car and beat him until he lay on the ground motionless and bloodied.

Footage of the attack in Bat Yam, a Tel Aviv suburb, was broadcast live on television but police and emergency services did not arrive on the scene until 15 minutes later, while the victim lay motionless on his back in the middle of the street.Advertisement

Those in the crowd justified the attack by saying the man was an Arab who had tried to ram the far-right nationalists, but the footage showed a motorist trying to avoid the demonstration.

“The victim of the lynching is seriously injured but stable,” Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital said in a statement.

Elsewhere in Bat Yam, a group of black-clad Israelis smashed the windows of an Arab-owned ice-cream shop and ultranationalists could be seen chanting: “Death to Arabs!” on live television during a standoff with border police.

In the northern city of Tiberias, video uploaded to social media appeared to show flag-waving Israelis attacking a car.

Earlier on Wednesday, the mayor of Lod, a city with both Jewish and Arab residents, warned that “civil war” was breaking out after Arab mourners clashed with police.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called on both Jews and Arabs to cease attacks on each other: “It doesn’t matter to me that your blood is boiling. You can’t take the law in your hands,” he said.

Far-right lawmaker Betzalel Smotrich, head of the Religious Zionism party, said he was “ashamed” of the “atrocious cruelty” of the Bat Yam attack.

“Jewish brothers, stop! We cannot under any circumstances allow ourselves to take part in violent acts,” he cautioned.

Israel’s chief rabbi, Yitzhak Yossef, also called for an end to attacks by Jews.

“Innocent citizens are being attacked by terrorist organisations, the heart is heavy and the images difficult, but we cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into provocations and aggressions,” he said.

Demonstrations by far-right Israelis broke out in several cities on Wednesday night, leading to clashes with police and sometimes Arab Israelis.

Police said they arrested nearly 400 people allegedly “involved in riots and disturbances” in cities across the country on Wednesday.

Netanyahu visited Lod and Acre, where he pledged to “stop the anarchy” and restore order “with an iron fist if needed”. Authorities deployed hundreds of police reinforcements to Lod and other areas, including paramilitary border police who usually operate in the occupied West Bank.

“The rioters in Lod and Acre do not represent Israeli Arabs, the rioters in Bat Yam … do not represent Israeli Jews, violence will not dictate our lives,” said opposition leader, Yair Lapid, who is tasked with forming a government after March elections.

Palestinian militants in Gaza have launched hundreds of rockets since Monday at Israel, which has carried out airstrikes on the crowded coastal enclave.

The most intense hostilities in seven years between Israel and Gaza’s armed groups were triggered by weekend unrest at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Arab citizens of Israel have held mass protests across the country over Israel’s policing of a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem and plans to evict dozens of Palestinian families in the city after a legal campaign by Jewish settlers.

Adding to the tensions are increasingly powerful far-right groups in Israel that won seats in March elections and are allied with Netanyahu.


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