The marauding Muslim Arab mobs in Lod and the smaller groups of Arab attackers in Acre, Ramle, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Yafo have forced the Israelis to carefully consider the problem of the enemy within. Writes Hugh Fitzgerald
Israeli Arabs continue to cause mayhem in Arab-Jewish towns, though in Lod itself the Border Police have helped to bring some semblance, not of calm, for there can no longer be calm after what the marauding Arab mobs did to the homes, shops, synagogues of their Jewish neighbors — but order. A report on the latest developments in this struggle by Israeli authorities to suppress the mob violence in mixed cities is here: “Riots Intensify in Lod, Acre and Other Jewish-Arab Cities, as Rivlin Condemns ‘Brutal Assault on Shared Existence in Israel,’” by Sharon Wrobel, Algemeiner, May 12, 2021:
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz asked 30 local authority heads from Arab society to help calm the tension and escalation of violence in Arab-Jewish towns which has erupted since Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel and air strikes were launched in Gaza by Israel.
The move came after Israel declared Lod, a city of both Arab and Jewish residents, a special state of emergency, following severe rioting in recent days by Arabs. The assailants were taking the streets of Lod, Acre, Ramle and other towns of mixed communities, setting fire to synagogues, shops and cars.
Despite the efforts to restore calm on the street and an overnight curfew imposed by police, violent riots continued on Wednesday night in Acre and Lod.
The sight of the pogrom in Lod and the disturbances across the country by an incited and bloodthirsty Arab mob, injuring people, damaging property and even attacking sacred Jewish spaces is unforgivable,” said Israel President Reuven Rivlin. “Tearing down the Israeli flag by Arab rioters and replacing it with the Palestinian flag is a brutal assault on shared existence in the State of Israel.”
“The silence of the Arab leadership about these disturbances is shameful, giving support to terrorism and rioting and encouraging the rupture of the society in which we live and in which we will continue to live once all this has passed. The Israeli government must pursue the rioters with a firm hand restore security and order while fighting terrorism from Gaza without compromise,” Rivlin added.
Only a single Arab MK, Esawi Frej, asked his fellow Arab leaders to speak out:
“I call on [the Joint List’s] Ahmad Tibi, Ayman Odeh along with Arab mayors: This is the test of your leadership. Don’t hide.”
But they did hide. Neither Ahmad Tibi, nor Ayman Odeh, nor any of the other Arab MKs or mayors, spoke out; Frej was alone. There were lower-level Arabs, some city councilmen in Lod, Acre, Haifa, Ramle, and Tel Aviv-Yafo, who, with their Jewish colleagues, signed a declaration calling for calm. And so far, that’s been the only response of leaders in the Israeli Arab community.
Even after President Rivlin made his appeal, the leaders of the Israeli Arabs have remained silent. It’s been quite a shock to many Israeli Jews, but it is surely better that they realize now what they are up against, rather than continue to assume the loyalty and good will of their Arab population.
Magen David paramedics were called to Acre central station to provide medical treatment to a 30-year-old man in critical condition with a head injury, who was hurt during the riots.
The Jewish man in critical condition is one of nearly a half-dozen Jews who so far have been seriously hurt by Arab rioters in Lod and Acre. One Arab man was also killed in Lod, shot in self-defense by a Jewish man whom he had been attacking. There are no other reports of Arabs being killed despite their continuing mob violence.
Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu called the riots in Jewish-Arab integrated cities “intolerable.” Netanyahu on Wednesday [May 11] visited Acre to meet with the mayor, police and security officials, for a discussion and assessment of the situation, following the events in the city.
“We are in a fight on several fronts. Last night I went to Lod, another front of anarchy that was opened there. We also made decisions there and brought in forces and this afternoon here in Acre. We will continue the effort to stop the anarchy, restore governance to Israel’s cities with an iron fist if necessary, with all necessary force and with all necessary authority,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said that he instructed border police forces from the West Bank to be transferred to assist the police in Lod, Acre and other places to help stop the wave of riots.
According to Walla, more than a dozen Arab and Jewish council members from the mixed cities of Lod, Acre, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Yafo, and Ramle have signed a declaration to help restore calm on the streets.
Commenting on the violent clashes between Jews and Arabs, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Dr. Meir Elran at the INSS said: “If the explosive situation continues or, God forbid, worsens, there will be very negative consequences for the fabric of life in Israel. Hence Israel’s national interest in achieving calm in rapid fashion, on this internal front as well, which likewise has an impact on the confrontation with the Palestinians and with Hamas.”
The marauding Arab mobs in Lod and the smaller groups of Arab attackers in Acre, Ramle, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Yafo have forced the Israelis to carefully consider the problem of the enemy within. Once the current fighting is all over, Israel having delivered enough punishing blows so that Hamas will sue for a ceasefire, with calm restored to the Temple Mount, and Arab mobs inside Israel put down, the leaders of the IDF, the Shin Bet, the regular police, and the Border Police will have to study how to deal with this dangerous new front, of the Enemy Within. How many Arabs actually took part? How should those who were part of the mobs be handled — prison sentences, or is expulsion a possibility? Why was Lod the city most vulnerable to such mob violence? How should Israeli Arab leaders who refused even to call for calm, much less to condemn the rioters, be treated? Is there any way to repair the inter-communal damage, or will Israelis now have to permanently adjust to living among those who clearly wish them harm, and are just waiting for another opportunity to do so? In such circumstances, what can Israel now do to protect its Jewish citizens from their Arab neighbors? If the Bidenites thought that Israel could be persuaded to return to the “pre-1967 lines” (1949 armistice lines) as a basis for negotiations, that possibility has now gone up in smoke, like the shops and homes and synagogues in Lod.
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