After 2 Jews killed during Arab riots, mixed Israeli cities remain on edge

Arabs burned down over 100 houses and more than 10 synagogues in deadly riots that resulted in the death of two Jews.

By World Israel News and AP

Israeli security forces guard the streets of Lod, weeks after Arab rioters torched patrol cars, synagogues and homes.

Attackers who killed a Jewish resident are still at large. Another Jewish victim, former head of Israel Space Agency Avi Har-Even, also died of injuries he sustained during Arab riots in the northern city of Acre (Akko).

Israel and Hamas reached a truce two weeks ago to end 11 days of fighting launched by the Palestinian terror group, during which it fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians.

“It’s hard for me to say what tomorrow will be like. To say that I will have the same trust, it’s hard to say,” said Rivi Abramowitz, a Jewish resident of the mixed city of Lod.

Lod, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) southeast of Tel Aviv, next to the main international airport, is home to 77,000 people. About a third are Arabs.

An urban landscape of low-rise housing projects from the 1950s and ’60s, the working-class city also is a bastion of Zionist politics. In the March 23 election, staunchly nationalist parties, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, won more than 60 percent of the vote in Lod.

Any tensions were largely below the surface — until last month.

In Lod, Yigal Yehoshua, 56, was killed by a group of Arab attackers. No charges have been filed.

Before the rioting, Lode Mayor Yair Revivo railed against “Arab crime” in his city, calling it an “existential threat to the state of Israel.”

In April, he urged the government to launch a military-style operation to clamp down on the “nightmare of gunfire, explosions, fireworks and calls to prayer amplified abnormally at 4 a.m.”

In a letter to Israel’s police chief and public security minister, Revivo described “an atmosphere of terror, a Wild West” perpetrated by Arab residents.

During the deadly riots, Arabs targeted property belonging to Jews.

“We are observant from the religious Zionist community. I don’t see why we’re put into the rubric of ‘settlers,'” said Abramowitz, who has lived in Lod for six years with her husband, who was born in town and whose parents were among the founders of a group promoting Jewish values called Torah Nucleus.

“Nobody has come to throw out anybody.”

Malek Hassuna, the father of the Arab killed in the unrest, stood by his son’s grave, which sits beside those of several generations of the Lod family.

“If it’s Jew or Arab, it’s one blood,” he said, expressing hope his grandchildren will live peacefully with their Jewish neighbors. “I want Lod to go back to how it was 40 or 50 years ago, how it was with coexistence with Jews.”