Yom Kippur riots leave 8 wounded in Israel

Friday, October 10, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Rioting between Jews and Arabs in the mixed northern Israel town of Acco lasted for nearly 24 hours, from the start of Yom Kippur until the holy day ended Thursday evening, leaving at least eight people injured and resulting in widespread property damage.

The violence began when a group of Jewish youth stoned at Arab motorist who entered a Jewish neighborhood.

According to witnesses who spoke to Israel National News, the Jewish youth feared they were being targeted by a terrorist since the Arab motorist was driving at high speeds, and had to go through a makeshift roadblock set up to prevent driving in the neighborhood on Yom Kippur in order to reach them.

After attacking the vehicle, the Jewish youth called for aid from neighbors, while the Arab man sought refuge at a relative's house. A rumor that the Arab motorist had been killed by the Jewish youth then quickly spread throughout the town, and local Arabs showed up en masse and began destroying parked cars and stores in the Jewish neighborhood.

Some 700 police officers were deployed throughout the city and eventually restored order.

But Arabs returning to their homes following the main riots reportedly attacked and verbally abused Jewish families not involved in the initial altercation as they made their way to and from synagogues.

The Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold an emergency session on Sunday to discuss the riots and how to prevent a repeat in other Israelis towns with mixed Jewish-Arab populations.

Right-wing lawmakers who toured Acco on Friday said that preventing these kinds of incidents will require the state to stop whitewashing the violent, subversive nature of much of the Israeli Arab population.

Speaking to Israel National News, National Union MK Uri Ariel noted that despite the fact that the first act of violence was committed by Jews throwing stones at an Arab motorist, the day deteriorated into widespread rioting because a locally-based Arab MK called for widespread violence in response.

"Arab MK Abbas Zakour who basically instigated the riots. He was one of the first people on the scene, and he made the call for hundreds of Arabs to come to the scene, after which they started destroying cars and stores," said Ariel, who continued that "many Arabs simply do not recognize Israeli sovereignty."

Highlighting what he said was a double standard in the government's treatment of Israel Arab troublemakers, Acco resident Ruby Luzon noted that "The Arabs rioted for hours without the police doing anything. But when the Jews demonstrated, the police used shock guns and other riot-dispersal means."

In related news, young Jewish yeshiva students in Acco and the nearby port city of Haifa repeatedly stoned Magen David Adom ambulances and stations over Yom Kippur. MDA deals with thousands of cases of people fainting, women going into labor and children injured in cycling accidents every Yom Kippur.

Further east in the Wadi Ara area of the Lower Galilee region, some 400 Israeli Arab youths stoned police who were sent to stop them from racing their cars on a local highway, which was empty due to Yom Kippur. Four police officers were wounded before local Arab leaders could be convinced to rein in the youth.

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