Riots in Akko spark political clashes as well: Rightist and leftist Knesset members traded harsh statements Thursday, with most of them slamming the police, in the wake of the Yom Kippur riots in Akko.
Knesset Member Effie Eitam referred to the riots as an "anti-Semitic pogrom at the heart of Israel on the holiest day to the Jewish people." However, MK Ahmad Tibi apparently saw things differently, referring to a "pogrom perpetrated by Jewish thugs against Arabs."
Likud Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz urged the internal security minister and police chief to resign in the wake of what he characterized as a failure.
"The State of Israel has become the only state in the Western world where pogroms are being perpetrated against Jews, with their property being damaged and with chants of 'death to the Jews,'" he said. "A police force that is unable to protect Jewish neighborhoods in Akko and Peki'in needs deep scrutiny."
National Religious Party Chairman Zevulun Orlev said that "law enforcement authorities must respond harshly to the Arab pogrom on Yon Kippur…it is unthinkable the Jews in the Jewish State will be harassed on the holiest of days to the Jewish people."
Orlev said the riots constituted a "significant test to the law enforcement system – making it clear to the Arabs that the State of Israel is the Jewish people's state." Meanwhile, MK Eitam added that "the fact Arab MKs refuse to condemn the riots and are even backing the rioters is further proof of their disloyalty to the state and identification with its enemies."
Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset Member Esterina Tartman said: "The pogrom in Akko is yet another confirmation that Arab Israelis are the real danger threatening the state. There is no other way except for territorial and population tradeoffs."
However, Knesset Member Yossi Beilin (Meretz-Yachad) said he was not surprised by the riots.
"Exactly eight years have passed since the October Riots, and nothing has been done to implement the Or Commission's recommendations regarding Israel's Arabs," he said. "We are sitting on a powder keg and are surprised every time the tensions explode, instead of undertaking a real effort to allay them. There's nothing easier than condemning the violence, but if this is not accompanied with genuine action, it will only reflect hypocrisy."