Tensions Between Jews, Arabs Quickly Reach Boiling Point

Wave of terror has Israel on edge, and local Arabs feeling aggressively defensive

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Israeli Arabs, War on Terror
Israel is on edge, and local Arabs are on the defensive. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Among the casualties of every fresh wave of terror is the fragile coexistence between the Jewish and Arab populations in Israel.

The Jewish state has only just recovered, and perhaps not even, from the internal strife that accompanied the last Gaza war in May 2020, when Israeli Arabs in many cities went on violent rampages against their Jewish neighbors.

And now tensions are again reaching boiling point amid a series of deadly attacks, two of which were perpetrated by Arab citizens of Israel that had pledged themselves to ISIS.

In response to what he called a “new threat,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered a crackdown on suspected ISIS sympathizers in the Arab community, and authorized the security forces to use administrative detention to bypass the usual legal procedures.

Israel is effectively in “war mode,” and when the next terrorist could be any Arab in your vicinity–be that at the market, the workplace or just walking down the street–it’s inevitable that some people will reflexively suspect everyone.

This in turn puts local Arabs on the defensive, and some violently so.

That was apparently the case on Wednesday morning when police officers stopped and began to question two Arab men at the open-air Mahane Yehudah market in central Jerusalem.

The two Arabs reportedly responded by physically assaulting the officers, including choking one of the policemen. The officers then shot one of the Arab men in the leg and both were forcefully subdued and arrested.

At this time it remains unclear why the two were being questioned–whether it was merely on suspicion, or if they had already acted aggressively toward passersby.

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