Attempted Lynching, Vandalism of Arab-Owned Businesses by Jewish Far-Rightists as Violence Spirals
Jewish far-right activists on Wednesday rioted in the streets of the city of Bat Yam and other towns, shattering windows and violently vandalizing Arab-owned businesses.
The violent acts follow two nights during which Arab assailants in mixed Arab-Jewish towns, including Lod and Acre, set synagogues, shops and cars on fire. The Jewish extremists in Bat Yam were chanting anti-Arab slogans destroying a falafel shop and an ice-cream parlor.
According to the Israel news outlet N12, dozens of rioters in the same city attempted to lynch a young man suspected of being an Arab. The Jewish mob was seen pulling the man out of a car and beating him up.
“I call on and beg of all local leaders, religious leaders, on citizens, on parents. Do all you can to stop this terrible thing that is happening before our eyes,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told N12. “We are dealing with a civil war between us without any reason. Please stop this madness.”
Commenting on the evolving events, Religious Zionist party leader MK Bezalel Smotrich urged Jewish rioters to stop the violence. “My Jewish brothers, stop!” said Smotrich. “We are not like them! We mustn’t be dragged into this violence. Self-defense against terrorism and rioters — yes; unprovoked violence and destruction of property — under no circumstances. We can’t let this degenerate into anarchy.”
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid called the Bat Yam rioters a “bunch of pathetic racists who don’t represent Israel’s Jews.”
“The vast majority of Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs, are much better than this. Most of us believe in coexistence and living together,” Lapid stated. “The role of the leadership on both sides is to calm the tensions, call on everyone to obey the law and help restore order. In Israel we will not let synagogues burn, innocent people get beaten up and civilians lives in the cities be turned into hell.”
Right-wing Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett called on “everyone — even in these difficult times, do not take the law into your own hands. Stop now.”
Additionally, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef put out a statement imploring Jews not to turn violent against Arab citizens.
“Innocent Israeli civilians are attacked by terror organizations, the blood runs hot and our hearts are outraged, the scenes are difficult to watch. But we mustn’t be dragged to provocations and to hurting people or harming property,” Yosef said. “The work of restoring order must be left to police. We must be a light unto the nations, and not, God forbid, the opposite.”