May 15, 2021 - 9:33 pm
Clashes between Jews and Arabs living in mixed cities continued to rattle Israel on Saturday, with protests across Palestinian cities giving way to concerns in Israel that the unrest would soon spill over to the West Bank.
In Jaffa, two Arab Israeli children were hurt when their family home, in the Ajami neighborhood, was firebombed. A 10-year-old girl suffered a minor head wound, but her brother, 12, had burns to his face and upper body and was hospitalized in serious condition at Sheba Medical Center’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Security camera footage from the violence showed two hooded figures walking in an alleyway near the home before it was attacked. The police are investigating.
Firebombs were reportedly thrown at two other homes in the neighborhood but caused no harm.
Elsewhere in Jaffa, the car of Labor MK Efrat Rayten was torched overnight. It remains unclear whether the vandals who set the car on fire knew it belonged to an MK.
In northern Israel, Arab rioters in the northern city of Acre torched the Acre Theater, a longtime symbol of Arab-Jewish coexistence in the city.
Israeli media reported that clashes also broke out in the northern Israeli localities of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Fureidis, Haifa, Umm al-Fahm and Jisr az-Zarqa. Police used crowd control measures as violent protesters hurled firecrackers, rocks and firebombs at the troops.
Dozens of rioters were arrested, the police said.
Riots also resumed in Lod, which has seen some of the worst clashes. The violence in the city has spiraled out of control, prompting the government to place it under lockdown. Ten Border Police companies — about 1,000 troops — have been deployed to the city to help in policing efforts.
In east Jerusalem, hundreds of rioters clashed with Border Police officers in the Palestinian neighborhoods of A-Tor, Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah, Shuafat and Beit Hanina, hurling firecrackers, rocks, and firebombs, at security forces.
A police car was torched in Sheikh Jarrah, where a property dispute had triggered clashes that spread to other Israeli cities and also prompted Hamas to fire rockets at the Israeli capital, bringing about the worst military conflict between Israel and Hamas since 2014.
Protesters in the neighborhood saw Arab protesters throw stones at the Jewish homes, while several of Sheikh Jarrah’s residents apparently fired warning shots in the air in response.
The two were arrested by police, local media reported.
Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman said Friday that the security agency “won’t tolerate violence by Arabs or by Jews.”
The Shin Bet “will not allow violent lawbreakers to terrorize the streets of Israel,” he said, adding that the Shin Bet was working with the Israel Police and the Border Police in mixed cities plagued by violence.
The Israel Security Agency’s efforts are “aimed at identifying, apprehending and prosecuting whoever tries to harm Israeli citizens, be they Jews or Arabs, until peace returns to Israel’s streets,” Argaman said.
The escalating violence has raised concerns in Israel of a new Palestinian “intifada” especially because of the unrest’s proximity to the Palestinian’s Nakba Day, marking the “catastrophe” of Israel’s inception.
Hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli troops in Ramallah, Nablus and other towns, waving Palestinian flags, burning tires, and stoning Israeli soldiers.
Palestinian media reported Israeli security forces shot and killed 10 rioters.
Around noon Saturday, IDF troops shot and killed a Palestinian who attempted to stab a soldier at a checkpoint in Samaria. IDF troops were unharmed.