Northern Israel town calm after four days of riots

Sunday, October 12, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

A tense calm finally settled over the northern Israel coastal town of Acco on Sunday following four days of street battles between local Jews and Arabs.

The violence began on Wednesday evening when an Arab motorist broke with accepted social norms by driving his vehicle into a Jewish neighborhood at the start of Yom Kippur. A group of Jewish youth said they feared a terrorist attack because the car was moving at high speed, and so they attacked the vehicle with stones.

False rumors that the Arab driver had been killed by the Jewish youth resulted in widespread Arab attacks, which were quickly answered by the city's Jewish population.

Local Arab and Jewish leaders met late into the night on Saturday in an effort to calm the situation, and the Arabs eventually agreed to condemn the motorist for driving in a Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur, even if he intended no harm or disrespect.

Despite what appeared to be a successful end to the meeting, it still took police until early Sunday morning to fully end the rioting.

In some of the more serious incidents over the weekend, a Jewish baby was injured by Arab stone throwers, and an empty Arab apartment was set alight by Jewish youth wielding homemade firebombs.

In all 54 people were arrested and 14 were wounded in the four days of rioting.

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