From a violent acid attack on the car of a Israeli Muslim interfaith peace activist to attacks on police and Arab workers and attacks on Jews, Israel shows more signs of unravelling into a spiral of racist violence.
“Wave” Of Violent Anti-Arab And Anti-Moderate-Muslim Attacks Sweep Across Israel
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A “wave" of violent racist attacks “showed signs of spreading across Israel,” Ynet reported, after anti-moderate-Muslim and anti-Arab attacks took place overnight, along with waves of firings of Arab workers by Jewish employers. At least three incidents of violent racism took place overnight, including:
• Vandals poured acid on a car belonging to Sheikh Samir Aasi, the imam of al-Jazzar Mosque in Acre, late Thursday night or early Friday. Assai was an organizer of the interfaith anti-terrorism gathering of religious leaders which took place Wednesday at the Har Nof synagogue which was the site of a gruesome Arab terror attack the day before. Police are reportedly investigating the possibility the acid attack on Aasi’s car was carried out by radical Islamists.
• Thursday, a 53-year-old Hadera resident allegedly threatened to physically injure Arab workers a restaurant in the city.
• Four activists from the right-wing racist Kahanist Lehava organization were arrested in Petach Tikvah after they allegedly attacked police.
Sheikh Aasi is reportedly known for his longtime efforts to work with Jewish religious leaders in Acre and city officials in the mixed city.
Following Wednesday’s interfaith gathering, police warned him that he could be in danger. He was branded a "traitor" by some in the Arab community who were angered that he did not pay condolence visits to the families of the two Arab terrorists they call martyrs.
"I don't care what happened to me. I think that this is the right path. I'm proud of the visit, and I'll continue down this road,” Aasi reportedly said, adding that while he did not know who had attacked his car and had received no threats, “I complained to the police [about the vandalism], and I believe that they'll do their work.”
Acre Mayor Shimon Lankri condemned the attack.
"The Jewish and Arab residents of Acre have proven that they know how to respect one another and maintain a co-existence based on mutual understanding. This is a regretful incident, and all we can do is hope that radical elements will be dealt with to the full extent of the law," Lankrie said.
Acre Chief Rabbi Yosef Yashar said he was shocked by the attack.
"This is an incident that must be condemned, and I hope the police find the perpetrator,” Yashar said, noting that Aasi is an honorable person, well respected in the Muslim community. He also said he worked with Aasi for years.
The Hadera incident, however, points to issues with police response to anti-Arab hate crimes.
The alleged perpetrator reportedly showed up at the restaurant Thursday night and demanded that the owner fire all Arab workers. He threatened to harm the the workers, left, and then returned 30 minutes later carrying a knife.
One of the workers wrestled with the man and managed to get the knife away from him. Police arrived and arrested the suspect – but did not charge him with a hate crime.
"This is a serious incident, and we are responding accordingly. If the suspect had carried out his threats, he could have caused an escalation in relations between Arabs and Jews within the city and without,” a police source told Ynet, adding that police argued, apparently successfully, that there was sufficient evidence to extend the alleged perpetrator’s remand because his release would be a threat to public order.
It is unclear why the man was not charged with a hate crime.
In the Petach Tikva incident, four Lehva activists, three 16-year-olds and one 22-years-old, were arrested after they allegedly attacked two policemen.
Police saw the the four handing out racist propaganda in a local park and stopped to speak with them. As police approached, the Lehava activists allegedly attacked, lightly injuring the two officers.
In Eastern Jerusalem Friday night, two yeshiva students were attacked by local Arabs, in what appears to be an unprovoked hate crime.