Jaffa Rioting Starts Up Again After Arrest

Police seen in Jaffa after an Arab resident of Jaffa was shot dead last week, on Sunday. (Flash90)

After several days of relative quiet, rioters again took to the streets of Jaffa Thursday night after Israeli police arrested the brother of a thief who had been shot fleeing an attempted robbery last weekend. The detainee is accused of leading the riots last weekend in the wake of the death of his older brother when he and a gang attempted to break into a shop in Jaffa.

The arrest came after the 20-year-old, who was leading a protest over the death of his brother, confronted police and began threatening and throwing things at them, police said. Police arrested him and he was questioned overnight Thursday.

Meanwhile, a riot developed outside the station, with protesters demanding that the detainee be released. Protesters set fire to tires and garbage cans, and threw rocks at police.

Residents told Channel Ten that police were to blame for the situation, because they “constantly persecute and bother us. They do it on purpose so we will react. They must release this boy, his family has suffered enough.”

Jaffa has been turbulent since last weekend, after the robbery suspect, who earlier in the day was wounded in a police shooting, died.

The incident began about 4:30 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.

Rioting began several hours later, with police closing off Jaffa and attempting to prevent rioters from moving north to Tel Aviv. Riots continued on Sunday and Sunday night as well, with the situation calming down only toward the middle of the week – only to begin again on Thursday night.

Police said they would deploy in greater numbers over the weekend to ensure that the peace was kept.

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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