Mosque Firebomb Incidents Linked to Tension Over Terror Attack

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of Israel’s lower Galilee. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

For the second time since the weekend, firebombs were thrown and shots were fired at mosques in northern Israel. Incidents on Sunday and Monday occurred in the village of Merar, where Ha’il Satawi, one of the two Israeli police officers killed in Friday’s terror attack in the Old City of Yerushalayim, lived. No one was hurt and there was no damage in either incident. Police said in a statement that they had opened an investigation and had deployed personnel in the village “in order to restore the sense of security among residents and prevent panic.”

Residents of the village told Yediot Acharonot that the incidents were further evidence of tension between Muslim and Druze in the wake of the incident. Both Satawi and Kamil Shanan, the other police officer killed in the terror attack, were members of the Druze community, and there are fears among Muslims in northern Israel, where Muslims and Druze live together in the same villages, that angry Druze will seek to avenge the death of the officers.

Druze and Muslim leaders sought to calm the atmosphere. Sheikh Mufak Tarif, head of the Druze community in Israel, condemned the terror attack, and demanded that peace be maintained between the communities. “The terror attack does not represent that Muslim community. It was a terrible crime that only the criminals themselves were responsible for,” Tarif said. He was supported by MK Ayman Odeh, head of the United Arab List, who called Tarif’s stance “responsible. All people who love their nation must stand against this ethnic division and emphasize the commonalities between our communities. I am in constant contact with the Sheikh and we will continue to work together in order to benefit both communities in the best way possible.”

On Sunday, Haaretz reported that leaders of the Druze community were upset that Arab MKs and the Arab Higher Committee had failed to condemn the attack sufficiently. The report quoted Rafik Halaby, the head of the Daliat Al-Carmel local council, populated mostly by Druze, as saying that the statements issued by Arab leaders were “full of unclear ideas, and we do not see a clear condemnation of the attack.”