Arab communities from the Negev to the Galilee continue to burn as riots over the death of Mohammed Abu Khdeir continue into their sixth day.
Since Abu Khdeir’s body was discovered in the Jerusalem Forest last Wednesday, Israeli across the political and religious spectrum have strongly condemned the murder and have said that the killers would be brought to justice. Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennet and rabbis from across the religious Zionist spectrum expressed their revulsion at the murder and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.
Netanyahu said there is “no place in Israeli society” for the individuals, apparently Jews, who kidnapped and murdered the Arab teenager,
Justice Minister Tzippi Livni, too, lashed out at the suspects.
“They have stolen our faith that something like this could never happen in our society. They have stolen from us the ability to say that we are not like them, that a Jew could never commit such a brutal, sadistic murder of a child.
“But we will not let them steal our ability to be a nation with ethical and democratic values. We will not let them steal our presence as a country with the rule of law – as Menachem Begin said, “justice is the ultimate authority” – I will not allow them to take this away from us. I pledge that the law enforcement and justice establishments will act in the strictest way possible against anyone who tries to destroy what we have built here – the murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and of Shelly Dadon will be brought to justice. We have had enough!”, Livni said in a statement.
But the wall-to-wall condemnations and pledges for justice did little to douse the flames of violence in Arab communities around the country. Overnight between Sunday and Monday, Arabs clashed with police and Border Police in Arab-majority neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Bedouin towns in the Negev and Israeli Arab towns in the Galilee.
In Shchem, Arab rioters tried to burn Kever Yosef, a holy site to Muslims as well as Jews, but were repelled by Palestinian Authority security forces.
In the Galilee, routes 65 and 70 have been closed on-and-off for several days due to violence. Dozens of people have been arrested in Tamra and Nazareth.
In the south, masked Arabs threw stones at passing cars outside the Jewish town of Omer, north of Beer Sheva. In addition, clashes were reported at Ar’ara, Tel Sheva, Lakia and Khoura.
Responding to the riots, Justice Minister Livni called on Jewish and Arab leaders to calm tensions.
“This is the time for the national and local leadership – in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and every town and village – to show responsibility, to rise to the call of this difficult hour to ramp down the flames and to find the way to live here,” Livni said.