Israeli lawmaker demands action against ‘violent bullying’ by Arabs

In recent years, tension has increased in northern Israel with the growth of Arab nationalism and identification with the Palestinian cause encouraged by a number of Arab-Israeli parliamentarians and Islamic leaders.

An Israeli parliamentarian from the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism party is demanding government action over what he describes as ongoing violent bullying by Arabs in northern Israel at the grave site of a revered 2nd-century sage.

According to Arutz-7, Member of Knesset Eliezer Menachem Moses sent a letter to Religious Services Minister David Azulai, lamenting that each week on the Jewish Sabbath, worshipers coming to pray at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, are subjected to “ violent bullying, and there’s no one to turn to! There’s no one in charge there, no one to keep the public order!”

In particular, Arutz-7 continues, he detailed the events of last week. “During the morning prayers, some people walked into one of the synagogues and started acting in a very violent manner that scared the worshipers. They cursed, yelled, pushed, physically assaulted people, and threatened to stab them with a knife. The worshipers fled with their Torah scroll from one synagogue room to the other, with these thugs pursuing them. The thugs continued pushing and shoving and even threatened a hasidic rabbi who was there. This behavior continued throughout Shabbat.”

This occurrence was far from unusual, Moses said. Another time, hooligans “…stole all the milk and cakes that were donated for the visiting public and took them for themselves into the forests.” He implored Azulai “to act immediately and appoint someone to be in charge of the site in order to deal with whatever problems may arise…in terms of the security of the visitors and worshipers, and as soon as possible.”

The gravesite is situated in Meron in the Upper Galilee. The site is packed with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year on the Jewish holiday of Lag b’Omer, which marks the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who is also believed to be the author of the mystical Zohar, the foundation of Kabbalah.

In recent years, tension has increased in northern Israel with the growth of Arab nationalism and identification with the Palestinian cause encouraged by a number of Arab-Israeli parliamentarians. Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas of the Arab Balad party, who regularly incite against the interests of the Jewish state, in February paid a condolence visit to the families of Palestinian terrorists who died while murdering innocent Israelis.

Last October, an Israeli court sentenced Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and a former mayor of the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, to 11 months in prison for incitement to violence and racism against Jews.

18% of Muslim-Arab Israelis approve of ISIS

According to a poll taken in November, 18 percent of Muslim Arab Israelis do not consider the Islamic State (ISIS) to be a terrorist organization and are not opposed to its ideology, and  57 percent say the Islamic Movement represents their views.

Nashat Milhem, the Arab terrorist who shot three Israelis to death at a café in Tel Aviv on January 1, “received full aid from family and friends” while in hiding in his home village in northern Israel, police said.

Despite the growing threat, not all Israeli Arabs in the north are hostile, and many enjoy peaceful coexistence. Anatt Haskia, for example, a Muslim woman who identifies as a Zionist, ran for a spot on the religious Zionist Jewish Home party list in the 2015 primaries, albeit unsuccessfully. All three of her children served in the IDF, including one in combat.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News