Rabbis and Sheiks set up joint forum to calm Acre
Jewish and Arab religious leaders of the northern Israeli town of Acre agreed to join hands to calm the outbreaks that roiled the northern Israeli town for four days. Also Monday, Oct. 13, Tawfiq Jemal, the Arab driver who triggered the Yom Kippur Eve riots was detained on suspicion of reckless driving above the legal speed, endangering lives and offending religious sensibilities. A reinforced police contingent of 700 officers stays in Acre to keep the peace.
debkafile reported earlier:
Israeli police chiefs played down the seriousness of the outbreak in the mixed northern town of Acre, which began with a noisy Arab motorist speeding through a Jewish street on Yom Kippur Eve, Oct. 8 and ended with an Arab mob screaming “Itbakh al Yahoud” (Slaughter the Jews)as they smashed and looted Jewish shops.
The ancient town of some 60,000 souls (of which one-third are Arabs) on Israel’s Mediterranean coast north of Haifa had settled down Wednesday night to pray and fast on the Jewish Day of Atonement, on which vehicular traffic customarily stops all over Israel, when a car driven by an Arab resident hurtled at high speed down a mostly-Jewish street on the eastern side of the town.
Witnesses reported that pedestrians fled in panic from its path. The driver refused requests to turn down his blaring radio, whereupon a group of Jewish youths smashed his car windows. He parked, ran into one of the houses and pelted the crowd outside with household objects and curses.
Fifteen minutes later, four more cars drove up packed with Arab youths. They careened around the predominantly Jewish neighborhood shouting “Allah is Great” and “Death to the Jews.” Meanwhile hundreds of young Arabs swarmed through Acre’s main thoroughfare, Ben-Ami Street, smashing and looting hundreds of Jewish shops. They overturned parked cars and knocked over traffic lights, Hebrew signboards and fences. The next two nights, Jewish youths got into stone-throwing fights with Arab youngsters in revenge. Three Arab apartments were torched.
The police commissioner Dudi Cohen’s first attempt to play the episode down and assign equal guilt to both sides was held responsible for the escalation. Mayor Lankri said the police were too soft in handling the initial incident. The driver was detained four days too late.