Human Rights Watch accused Israeli police of using "excessive force" against Arab protesters in the mixed city of Lod, all while treating Jewish rioters more favorably during the May riots.
The rioting in Lod between May 10 and May 14 was carried out by both Arab and Jewish residents, according to multiple officials and witnesses, with both Jewish and Muslim places of worship vandalized.
"The police appeared to act half-heartedly and unevenly to violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel committed by Jewish ultra-nationalists," the HRW said.
The group's report cited instances where police "failed to act in a timely manner to protect Palestinian residents of Lod" from violent Jewish groups.
It also cited instances in which "Israeli law enforcement agencies used excessive force to disperse peaceful protests by Palestinians."
The police rejected allegations of unfair treatment, saying that officers "worked day and night during the riots that took place in Lod last May to restore peace and security for the inhabitants of the city".
Investigations and arrests linked to the unrest were carried out "regardless of the religion or identity of the perpetrators," a police spokesperson said.
HRW's Israel and Palestine director, Omar Shakir, was expelled by Israel in 2019 over allegations that he previously supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to isolate Israel over what it calls the mistreatment of Palestinians.