Clashes over the past month in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Muslims celebrating Ramadan have spilled over into the entire country with Arab-Jewish violence leading to an eruption of rocket fire from Gaza.
One Arab man was shot to death on Monday, two others wounded and an Israeli nearly lynched, all occurring at different flash points around the country.
Arab residents of Israel took to the streets in various cities and protested on behalf of Palestinians, waving Hamas flags, attacking homes and houses of worship, tearing down street signs and calling their Jewish neighbors “terrorists.”
The Times of Israel reported: “The mob of local Arab residents also attacked medical staff at Assaf Harofeh (Hospital), Israel Radio reported, targeting Arab medical staff and castigating them for working there. Medical staff had to evacuate some patients to keep them from the mob, the radio report said.”
Pictures and video from the city and the neighboring town of Ramla showed cars turned on their sides and set on fire and tires burning in the streets. Shop windows were also broken. One group, chanting, “We will liberate al-Aqsa with blood and fire,” took down an Israeli flag and put up a Palestinian flag in its place.
Much of the violence took place in Lod, where an Arab was killed and a 34-year-old Jewish man was arrested. But protests also occurred in Nazareth, Haifa, Shefar'am, Segev Shalom and a few smaller towns.
A Jewish man who entered Kafr Kanna was “violently attacked” but rescued by other residents and led to safety.
Fidha Shahadeh, an Arab member of the local council, said the protests were in response to the violence at al-Aqsa Mosque and the controversy surrounding possible evictions of Arab residents in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
President of Israel Reuven Rivlin reached out to Mudar Yunes, chair of the Forum of Arab Heads of Local Councils, to urge an immediate end to the violence.
“We must not allow these sights to recur. We must not be held hostage by murderous Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, who are firing indiscriminately on Israeli citizens,” he said. “I appeal to you to do whatever you can to calm the situation. The Israeli people, Jews and Arabs alike, need to hear the Arab leadership speak out strongly and clearly against violence, against damage to synagogues, against this outburst of disorder.”
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS