Aviv's Delicatessen which sells pork products was set on fire in Netanya on Saturday, and significantly damaged. One suspect was arrested in the matter.
The store has been under attack since its opening about one month ago, and was protested against several times, despite the fact that other pork-selling stores operate in the city.
The incident occurred early Saturday morning, when the police received reports of a fire. Arriving at the scene, the police spotted a suspicious man and chased after him.
The 36-year-old was caught after a short chase and taken in for questioning. The investigation revealed that the man is knows to the police as a suspect in other cases of arson. The suspect denied the allegations.
Aviv's Delicatessen opened in central Netanya a few weeks ago and has aroused much resistance from the haredi public in the city.
A number of protests were carried out against the store, and the demonstrators, which included rabbis, said that the size and location of the store was what prompted the protests.
Shop after arson attack (Photo: Ido Erez)
The deli's owners were deterred not by the arson. The company's deputy director general, Tzvika Hershko, told Ynet: "We will return to full operations."
Last month, the Netanya City Council approved a bylaw prohibiting the sale of pork products in the city. The move, which is still pending approval from the Interior Ministry, received much criticism.
Netanya officials said Saturday's arson attack "crosses all limits."
Netanya Council Member Boris Tsirulnik opposed the decision, and said he planed to petition against the bylaw to the High Court of Justice arguing it violated Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation. Tsirulnik called the attack an incident of "Jewish terrorism."
"This is a conflict of Jews against Jews. It is a disgrace. During the intifada Netanya suffered greatly from terror attacks, and tourists were afraid to visit the city. Whoever did this wants to bring the city back to those days," Tsirulnik said.
A source from Netanya said that Saturday's arson was "crossing the line. Up until now, the struggle has been managed through legal means. Now it has crossed over to violence and criminal methods, disrupting the status quo in the city, in which dozens of stores have been operating undisturbed and with no fear."