The violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinian militants this week has caused rockets to fly and buildings to collapse under targeted airstrikes, but for some residents of towns like Lod with mixed Arab and Jewish populations, riots and crowds in their midst. streets are more disturbing.
“I don’t have a problem with my Jewish neighbor or any other Jew who lives in Israel. My problem is with the settlers who see us as flies. They don’t see us as humans,” 70-year-old Palestinian Yousef Sharaya Fox News tells in Hebrew, his voice shaking with emotion and anger. He indicated that he had always felt part of his surroundings in Israel, had a civic spirit. But on Thursday he sported a large scab on his forehead from stones thrown through his window as he tried to sleep amid the unrest that rocked his town this week.
Lod in central Israel and several other towns with mixed Arab and Jewish populations have exploded into violence in recent days with extremist Jews and Arabs being hunted down in their own neighborhoods. Sharaya blamed the Jewish settlers, intruders who he said came to town to threaten the Arabs and stir the pot. His wife Hajar was hit the hardest. The cuts on his head were deeper. Their son Mohammad said that although they are not even safe in their house, they are now afraid to leave it.
“This is the definition of terror,” he said. “We are not terrorists. We are defending our homes here.”
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And men with covered faces protected the mosque. They were standing on the roof looking for those who might threaten them. Thursday began the Muslim holiday of Eid, ending the holy month of Ramadan.
Nearby, police spoke to the Imam in his long white robe. The Arab community demanded more protection. Shortly after their stampede, the police sent a few men in kippahs to approach the mosque far from this corner of Lod.
Not far away, in a sort of community center, which looks like a situation room buzzing with activity as Jews of outside religion organized themselves. Some had guns. Others rolled up maps of Israel, as part of an art project. The rest had their fill of pizza. They were mobilized by the Jewish community of Lod to protect the Jews.
“I have lived in Lod for 15 years. This is my hometown. This is where I raised my children. This is my place. The last three days everything just turned around,” Ayelet-Chen said. Wadler to Fox News, also visibly distressed. She said Jewish homes had been attacked and Jewish synagogues and schools were set on fire or vandalized.
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“It is extremely disturbing to feel that the place where you are at home and where you are used to walking the streets feeling safe and happy suddenly turns into a place where you are afraid,” he said. she declared.
She also said that the police did not adequately protect them and therefore the community organized this protection squad.
The protection squad will undoubtedly be seen as a provocation by the Arabs in the city. But Wadler said enough was enough.
People on both sides have been beaten with blunt objects, dragged out of vehicles, called insulting names and pelted with stones. Wadler said there had also been gunfire. All of this is one aspect of the extraordinary escalation of tensions over the past few weeks which some say is more disturbing than the rocket fire, which at some point is likely to stop.
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“I don’t know why this happened,” Wadler said. “I don’t know. It’s extremely disturbing. Once it’s over there will be a lot of rebuilding and a lot of repairs to be done. Because the sense of security we had here, I don’t know if that is. is easy. will be to create it again. ”
Each side blames the other. And maybe the two of them are wearing pink glasses that look like just a week ago. Mohammad Sharaya pointed out what good neighbors they were all before Monday, putting aside the reality that Palestinians like him living within Israel’s borders often feel like second-class citizens. And he forgot the fact that there are many issues that divide the Arabs and the Jews who live within the Jewish state. But both sides seem willing to ignore this as they try to bring a situation that has spilled out of control this week and bring back what now appear to be great times.
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