Vi­o­lence in Akko

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment & Analysis -

The five days of ri­ot­ing, stone-throw­ing and ar­son in Akko seemed to have pe­tered out as we went to press. But the stark re­al­ity of Jewish-Arab re­la­tions in Is­rael re­mains. Whether or not the out­break of vi­o­lence was caused by Taw­fik Jamal’s al­leged reck­less driv­ing and dis­re­gard for re­li­gious feel­ing, or by a Jewish mob try­ing to lynch him, the fact that the in­ci­dent that sparked the un­rest took place on Yom Kip­pur only makes it more poignant. The quar­ter of Is­rael’s pop­u­la­tion that is not Jewish is feel­ing more and more os­tracised and disen­fran­chised. The wake-up call ex­actly eight years ago, when 12 Is­raeli Arabs were killed in the ri­ot­ing that took place at the start of the Sec­ond In­tifada, seems to have gone un­heeded. Jewish politi­cians and pun­dits might have a point when they com­plain about law­less­ness and dis­loy­alty to the state among a small mi­nor­ity of Is­raeli Arabs; but the de­plorable state of the in­fra­struc­ture in many Arab towns and vil­lages, the lack of ad­e­quate plan­ning, the di­lap­i­dated equip­ment in schools, are a dis­grace for a demo­cratic so­ci­ety. For now, the speedy in­ter­ven­tion of po­lit­i­cal and re­li­gious leaders on both sides seems to have de­fused the im­me­di­ate man­i­fes­ta­tion of the ten­sion. But if the new Is­raeli gov­ern­ment does not speed­ily launch a se­ri­ous pro­gramme to in­te­grate the Arab com­mu­nity, there may well be an­other round of ri­ot­ing just be around the cor­ner.

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