Lankry. Pleased
Akko riots
Photo: Dudu Azulay

Akko mayor welcomes Arab condemnation of Kippur driver

After rejecting conciliatory gesture from city's Arab leaders, Lankry changes his mind following resumed clashes between Jewish and Arab residents. 'I'm happy the Arab leadership condemned this grave incident, which has never before taken place in this city,' he tells Ynet

Following a fourth consequent evening of violent riots in Akko, Mayor Shimon Lankry declared Saturday night that he accepts the condemnation announcement the northern city's Arab leadership plans to issue against the use of a vehicle by an Arab resident on Yom Kippur.


Three people were lightly injured in Saturday's riots, and a Molotov cocktail was hurled at an Arab house in the city.


Order was restored in the late hours of the evening, but after midnight dozens of Jewish youngsters gathered across from dozens of Arabs on a crossroad in the northern part of the city, following a false rumor that a synagogue had been torched.


Border Guard and police forces separated between the parties, and no unusual incidents were recorded. Police remain on high alert in the city.


Tensions high on Akko's streets (Photo: Dudu Azulay)


The Arab leadership plans to distribute a leaflet saying that it does not matter if Tawfiq Jamal's decision to drive that night was justified or not, but he should have made an effort to find an alternative way home.


"We are ready to lend a hand to any business owner in need of help in order to restore the situation," said Knesset Member Abas Zkoor (United Arab List-Ta'al), himself a resident of Akko.


At first, Mayor Lankry was dismissive of the condemnation announcement made by Akko's Arab leaders, saying "so what if they denounce the driver? We condemn all violence, of any kind and from any side. We condemn all those acting without respect to one another," he said.


But several hours later, after the riots were resumed, he changed his mind and said he was pleased with the announcement.


"I'm happy the Arab leadership is condemning the incident. It was a very grave occurrence that had never before taken place in this city, and so it indeed demanded their denouncement.


"Anyone who commits an act that offends the public should be subject to condemnation and even prosecution," the mayor said, explaining that he did not understand the condemnation at first and had therefore rejected it.


Mofaz: Have respect for one another

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz also addressed the violent incidents Saturday evening. In a meeting with activists in the northern city of Tirat Hacarmel, Mofaz said, "We are a country living in coexistence, side by side.


"Israel's citizens must obey the law. There is no one here who is above the law, and everyone must have respect for the other. We must honor each other every single day and everywhere. We wouldn't want this incident to occur in other places," he added.


Police still on high alert (Photo: Dudu Azulay)


Three people were lightly injured by stones hurled at them during Saturday evening's riots. Jewish rioters torched the home of an Arab family in the city. An initial police investigation revealed that a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the house.


Ten people were arrested during the clashes, six of them Jews. Four Arabs were detained on suspicion of throwing stones at passerby from their house.


A group of yeshiva students who arrived at Akko's eastern neighborhood to observe the riots, claimed that the disturbances in the city was a late response not only to the Yom Kippur incident, but also to ongoing provocation by Arab residents, particularly young ones, against the Jewish public.


One of the men said that he believes the riots may spread to additional Israeli communities were similar incidents have taken place. Another said that the riots would calm down only after police arrest the muezzin who reportedly incited against Jews, calling on Muslims to arrive at the eastern neighborhood on the holy Jewish day of Yom Kippur.


Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 10.12.08, 07:33
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