Members Of Lehava Arrested

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

Israeli police arrested 10 Jewish activists from a controversial group opposed to Arab-Jewish coexistence, including its leader, in the first major clampdown against a fringe organization that has become a symbol of rising anti-Arab sentiment.

Police said the crackdown followed a 10-month undercover investigation of “Lehava,” which has become increasingly visible in recent months amid rising Arab-Jewish tensions.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspects were apprehended on suspicion of racist incitement and calls for “violent activity and terror.”

Lehava activists have run vigilante patrols and telephone hotlines warning Arab men to stay away from Jewish areas, and waged campaigns to prevent Israeli employers from hiring Arab workers.

The group’s leaders say they oppose violence and are merely trying to prevent Jewish youths from assimilating.