The security situation in the State of Israel continues to deteriorate. Throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning, 300 projectiles were fired at Central and Southern Israel, with 10 people reportedly injured while running to bomb shelters. A man was killed over Shabbat in Ramat Gan, after Hamas fired around 30 rockets towards Central Israel.
Over Shabbat, bomb sirens were sounded in Rishon LeTzion, Holon, Bat Yam, Ashdod, Yavne, and other areas of the country. Sivan Gamliel, a resident of Bat Yam, stated in an exclusive interview: “You can hear the rockets falling. As a result, there are many who are scared to go to the supermarket.”
Former MK Michal Cotler Wunsh proclaimed on her Facebook page: “70% of Israel’s citizens are under Hamas’s rocket fire. A genocidal terror organization does not care who its rockets kill – Jews, Arabs, Christians, Druze, ultra-orthodox, religious, or secular. We must empower moderate voices committed to serve, to take responsibility, to bridge gaps, heal rifts and unite.”
This comes as the IDF attacked numerous targets in the Gaza Strip. As the IDF reported over the weekend, “We struck 150 targets and damaged many kilometers of the Hamas metro tunnel. The IDF will continue to work 24/7 to defend Israeli civilians.”
Meanwhile, the internal tensions in the mixed cities continue unabated. It has been reported that two Arab children were burned when a petrol bomb was thrown into their residence. According to various reports, the bomb was thrown by Arab extremists, who thought the children were Jewish. Last Friday, rioters set a community center on fire in Lod, after a synagogue was burned in the city.
This comes after a Jewish man was stabbed on the way to synagogue. According to N12, the riots have continued unabetted despite the night curfew imposed, which includes stone throwing, shootings, the arson of synagogues and brawls in public places, which cause damage to infrastructure.
Former MK Dov Lipman reported that in Lod, “Arabs shoot live ammunition from their apartment, targeting Jews in the parking lot of a residential neighborhood where Jews and Arabs had co-existed peacefully for decades.” Amidst the chaos, a Magen David Adom team was attacked in Lod: “Rioters threw rocks from every direction. They attacked an ambulance, a humanitarian vehicle, while volunteers were providing first aid to an injured person.”
A team from Magen David Adom was attacked in the city of Umm Al Fahm as they were on their way to help the injured: “They were violently and deliberately attacked by a group of rioters. They threw stones, attacked the van with clubs and metal bats and blocked the ambulance pathway. This type of violence is unacceptable. MDA is an ICRC recognized organization. We are not a target.”
Simultaneously, it has been reported that an Arab man was injured by a group of Jewish extremists in Bat Yam, while a Jewish man was injured by a group of Arabs in Akko. Around the same period, a woman was injured when a Haifa bus was attacked by rioters. In Jaffa, N12 reported that a young soldier was almost lynched and presently is hospitalized in serious condition. According to various reports, more than 750 rioters have been arrested since the unrest began.
Following these developments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page: “Assessing the situation in Lod, our goal is to bring results and fast. We must restore peace and security to the citizens of Israel. We will recruit more forces and utilize everything to restore order and security in the State of Israel.”
According to Gamliel, not just the rockets but also the Jewish and Arab riots are adversely affecting the citizens of Israel: “Many Arabs from Jaffa want to go to Bat Yam, but people are scared and locking the door, while stocking up on food. For years, we used to buy from them and talk to them. I never felt scared to go to Jaffa. But this time, we are scared. Now, no one will go to Jaffa from Bat Yam to buy from them.”
Nevertheless, Gamliel condemned the Jewish extremists in Bat Yam who attacked Arabs: “Such violence should not happen. I don’t accept such things. But this kind of stuff happens when you and your children are not safe. There are people here who want to go out on the streets and declare that they are not afraid. This is the point. Nevertheless, the violence should not happen. It does not need to be like that.”
Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef appealed for restrain following such violence: “We must not be dragged into provocations and inflicting harm on people or property. The Torah of Israel grants no license for taking the law into one’s hands and acting violently.”
Rabbi David Hartman, who heads the Shalom Hartman Institute, stated in an exclusive interview following these developments: “We have been living for an exceptionally long time under the myth that external threats are exclusively outside our borders and what happens inside is just a challenge. We have allowed an untenable situation to continue.”
According to him, these riots inside of Israel occurred for “we do not know each other” and “don’t share our lives” with each other, noting that Jews in Israel rarely celebrate Muslim holidays and Muslims in Israel seldom celebrate Jewish holidays. Among the Arabs in Israel, he claims that there is a feeling of disenfranchisement, which needs to be addressed.
According to Rabbi Hartman, aside from voting and visiting each other’s stores, Jews and Arabs in Israel share nothing with each other, as they go to separate schools and do not really interact with each other. In such a situation, “It just takes a match to activate the hatred. Our greatest danger is the hatred we allow to fester inside.”
Rabbi Hartman accuses both sides of tolerating violence in their midst: “If you allow violence to exist, it will also spread. Each one of us is going to have to confront ourselves and we don’t like to do it, but that is what we have to do. Both sides have to look carefully on the inside and face what we have not done to heal society.”