In the middle of Israel, 16 miles outside of Tel Aviv, sits the city of Lod (Lydda). One-third of its population of 77,000 is Arab; it has been a source of local pride that Arabs and Jews have gotten along so well, and that the Arabs have flourished. Starting with an Arab population of 1,600 in Lod in 1949, the Arabs now number 25,700, a colossal increase of more than 1500%. Obviously, living in Lod agrees with them.
But in recent days, Arab mobs in Lod have been roaming the city, attacking Jews, burning cars, throwing petrol bombs into Jewish homes and shops, setting three synagogues on fire..
A report on this grim spectacle is here: “‘Kristallnacht in Lod’: State of emergency as Arab mobs set synagogues on fire,” Times of Israel, May 12, 2021:
Intense Arab rioting broke out in the central Israeli city of Lod late Tuesday, with three synagogues and numerous shops reportedly set on fire, along with dozens of cars. The government declared a state of emergency in the Jewish-Arab city, and urgently dispatched several Border Police companies to work to restore order.
Some residents reported power was cut in their homes and petrol bombs were thrown through their windows, Channel 12 news said, and police acknowledged having to escort some residents from a community center to their homes as Arab mobs marauded in the streets. A local man, 56, was seriously hurt when hit by a slab on his car, and was hospitalized. Another local resident was seriously hurt.
Jewish shops were set on fire, three synagogues burned, gasoline bombs thrown into Jewish homes. It is a miracle that no one so far has burned to death, though several Jews have been seriously wounded by Arabs, and one Arab man was shot dead while attacking Jews. Meanwhile Arab mobs for two days and nights roamed the streets, looking for Jews and Jewish property to attack. Some Jews had to be escorted home by the police, for fear of what might happen to them at the hands of the maddened Muslim marauders.
The mayor, Yair Revivo, said City Hall and a local museum were also attacked, and compared the situation to the Nazis’ 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom. “Civil war” is breaking out, he said, lamenting that decades of coexistence efforts had collapsed.
“Kristallnacht pogrom” is exactly the right description. In Lod, the Arab mobs have been attacking Jewish homes, Jewish shops, Jewish places of worship, just as the Nazis did on November 9-10, 1938, and hoping thereby to terrorize the Jews into psychological submission or, some might say, dhimmitude.
After Revivo appealed directly to the prime minister for urgent help, a state of emergency was declared in the city for the first time in decades, and large Border Police forces deployed to work to restore order. “Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu directed that lawbreakers be dealt with severely and that units on the ground be reinforced in order to restore quiet and order to the city forthwith,” a government statement said….
Footage posted on social media showed a torched synagogue and two Torah scrolls being salvaged — unharmed — from its ruins.
The rioting by Israeli Arabs in October 2000 did not include attempts to set fire, with petrol bombs, to Jewish homes and shops, nor were synagogues set on fire. In 2000, chanting Israeli Arabs protested all across the country, declared their solidarity with Palestinian terror groups, and when the protesters got completely out of hand and became rioting mobs intent on attacking Jews, 13 of the Arabs rioting throughout Israel were shot.
Arab violence erupted in numerous other cities across Israel, and there were also reports of Jewish revenge attacks, including in Lod, where a Muslim cemetery was set ablaze.
Setting a cemetery ablaze causes damage, but does no harm to anyone living; everyone in the cemetery is already dead. But the targets of the Arab mobs in Lod were very much alive and at risk of death – the Jewish shopkeepers in their shops that were set alight, the Jewish families in their homes, when petrol bombs were thrown through the windows, the Jews praying in synagogues where flames suddenly erupted. No Jews in Lod have attacked Arab-owned shops or houses, or mosques. The difference matters.
Attacks were reported on Jewish homes in Ramle, where cars were also stoned. In Acre, a restaurant and a hotel were set ablaze.
Roads were blocked in Umm al-Fahm, an Arab town. There were confrontations reported after midnight in Jaffa, where a car was overturned and set alight, and minor fights reported in Tel Aviv’s Habimah Square.
Throughout central Israel, the Arab attacks spread: in Ramle, right near Lod, more attacks on Jewish homes and cars; major fires consumed a restaurant and hotel. In the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, the locals blocked roads so that the forces of order – the Israeli police – would keep out. On the coast, in Jaffa, a car was set on fire and Arabs and Jews clashed, Even in the overwhelmingly Jewish Tel Aviv, fights broke out between Arabs and Jews in the very center, Habimah Square, of the city.
The surge in violence came hours after Hamas fired some 130 rockets at central Israel, and claimed “victory” in what its leader Ismail Haniyeh said was “the battle for Jerusalem.” Hamas later hailed Arab Israelis for joining the struggle against Israel.
The rockets launched by Hamas from Gaza emboldened the local Arabs, who now wanted to show that they could make common cause with Hamas in helping to “strike terror” at Israelis from within.
Lod resident Shiloh Fried told Channel 12: “Gangs of Arab youths are going street to street, burning stores, smashing windows… Jewish families are huddled at home, terrified of going out… Their cars are being set alight outside… Police are nowhere to be seen.”
Israel was supposed to be the Jewish National Home, a refuge for world Jewry. The Israelis are used to fighting for their survival against the armies of Arab states. They are used to fighting terror groups, too — Hamas, Hezbollah, PFLP, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. But in Lod, many of the Arabs with whom they have lived side-by-side, among whom they had grown up, people whom they had allowed themselves to believe were reasonably content as citizens of Israel, with all the civil, religious, and political rights of Israeli Jews, suddenly turned on their Jewish neighbors. Within two days of the first Hamas rockets landing in southern Israel, and just a week after Arabs on the Temple Mount had started flinging rocks and Molotov cocktails at Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall below, and at the Israeli police on the Temple Mount itself, and only a few weeks since Arabs had begun to attack Jews on the streets of Jerusalem, and to upload using the TikTok app videos of their attacks, to share them with other Arabs who they were sure would enjoy the spectacle, the Arabs of Lod went on a rampage.
There were reports that some residents were avoiding using public shelters during rocket sirens out of fear they would be attacked by mobs.
Some Jews in Lod were caught between the rockets fired at the city by Hamas in Gaza, and the Israeli Arabs, whose vicious fanatical frenzy worried them so much that they did not use public shelters lest they be “attacked by mobs” of hysterical Arabs.
Channel 12 also showed footage of Jewish residents of Lod hurling rocks at cars of Arab residents, though Fried said these incidents were minor ones compared to the scope of Arab rioting. An Arab resident was killed on Monday night amid violence, in what Jewish eyewitnesses said was self-defense against Arab assailants.
Having endured the violence of Arab mobs setting on fire Jewish shops, homes, cars, and synagogues, the Jews of Lod — many of whose parents were refugees from Arab lands – managed to get back in the only way they could, with what were apparently two or three incidents of rock-throwing at Arab cars (no one hurt as a result), an understandable reaction to being goaded beyond endurance by so much Arab mob violence.
Before the army was sent in, Lod Mayor Revivo had warned “this is too big for the police.”
“This is Kristallnacht in Lod,” Revivo said on Channel 12. “I have called on the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in Lod. To call in the IDF. To impose a curfew. To restore quiet… There is a failure of governance…This is a giant incident — an intifada of Arab Israelis. All the work we have done here for years [on coexistence] has gone down the drain.”
“All of Israel should know, this is a complete loss of control,” Revivo added, sounding desperate. “This is unthinkable. Synagogues are being burned. Hundreds of cars set alight. Hundreds of Arab thugs are roaming the streets… Civil war has erupted in Lod… The Orthodox-nationalist community here has guns. I’m imploring them to go back home but they understandably want to protect their homes. Molotov cocktails are being thrown into [Jewish] homes. The situation is incendiary.”
Reacting to the ongoing riots in Arab-Jewish cities across Israel, Meretz MK Isawi Frej said “anyone who calls themselves a public figure in Arab society must call for restoring calm.”
“I call on [the Joint List’s] Ahmad Tibi, Ayman Odeh along with Arab mayors: This is the test of your leadership. Don’t hide. Don’t only speak out during elections. It’s your job to go out and influence,” Frej said….
Frej, an Arab, called on Arab MKs and mayors to denounce the rioters and call for calm. So far he has gone unheeded. No other Arab leader has yet spoken out. That failure must certainly alarm Israeli Jews.
What must Israeli Jews be thinking when they confront the spectacle of those whom they thought of as their peaceful Arab neighbors, with whom they shared so much, suddenly allowing themselves to be whipped up enough to set fire, in Lod alone, to three synagogues, to destroy Jewish-owned shops, to firebomb Jewish-owned homes, and to attack at random Jews whom they came upon in the streets of Lod?
In his statement, Rivlin said he asked Younes “to do everything in his power to calm things down. The people of Israel, Jews and Arabs alike, must hear the Arab leadership sounding a clear and strident [si] voice against this wild violence, against damage to synagogues, against this wild behavior. The police will do all that is required to restore the peace. I ask for cooperation from the Arab leadership to restore calm and law and order to our streets.”
Rivlin’s cri de coeur for Israeli Arab leaders to speak out has still not, by the following week, been heeded. The Border Police have been called in to restore order in Lod, where the Arab mob violence has finally been suppressed. But the former trust between Arab and Jew in Lod, and in other mixed cities, too, have been broken by the Arab mobs that have been attacking, sometimes murderously, the Jews among whom they live and who have done nothing to deserve such treatment.
President Rivlin, normally so measured and soft-spoken in his remarks, said that “the sight of the pogrom in Lod and the disturbances across the country by an incited and bloodthirsty Arab mob… is unforgivable.” In a mixed city that prided itself on how Jews and Arabs got along. Too many Arabs suddenly turned on their Jewish neighbors, and became unhinged predators. The Jews of Israel, even those on the far left, will neither forgive nor forget what happened in Lod.
And nor, of course, should we.
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