Eight Arrested After Overnight Jaffa Rioting

Police forces in Jaffa, Motzoei Shabbos. (Hachadashot Hachamot)

Jaffa was calm Sunday morning after a night of unrest, in which Arabs rioted again at the funeral of a 22-year-old robbery suspect who was shot and killed by police. Eight rioters were arrested as an Arab mob threw rocks and other objects at police. A Channel Two reporter was attacked and beaten by the mob, and was in Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv overnight Motzoei Shabbos with light to moderate injuries.

Rioting began Shabbos afternoon, after the robbery suspect who was earlier wounded in the police shooting died. Rioters burned tires and attacked police, and also smashed the windows of shops, including several owned by Jews that had been in Jaffa for decades and were considered symbols of Jewish-Arab coexistence. Police closed off roads leading to Jaffa, opening them only Sunday morning.

The incident began about 4:30 a.m. Shabbos morning, when police received a report of a break-in at a butcher shop in Jaffa. Police on patrol in the area investigated, and when they arrived they saw a group leaving the scene on motorcycles. A pursuit developed, and at one point police opened fire on the group. Three of the suspects were hit, and one was seriously wounded, later dying of his injuries.

An attorney for the family said that “as far as we are concerned, this was murder in cold blood. We expect a full investigation and for the officer who shot this young man to be put on trial. I have no doubt that the riots will continue one way or another if such a trial does not take place.” Residents told Channel Two that “there has been a lot of tension in Jaffa in recent days, both over the heavy-handedness of police and the tensions in Jerusalem” over the rioting on Har HaBayis. “If we don’t protest police will keep shooting us down.”

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said that he “understands the pain of the Arab community in Jaffa, but I believe we need to show restraint for the public good. We cannot allow radicals to ruin the coexistence we have in Jaffa, that we have built with hard work. I hope that this incident will be examined fully and seriously.”

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