Akko's hesder yeshiva (archives)
Photo: George Ginsburg

Hesder yeshiva in Akko torched

Fire breaks out in office of one of northern city's mixed neighborhoods Saturday night; investigation points to arson by Arabs

A fire broke out Saturday night in a hesder yeshiva (program which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service) in the northern city of Akko. There were no injuries, but the building sustained damage.


The city's firefighting services reported that an initial investigation into the incident pointed to arson.


The fire broke out at around 3:30 am in a yeshiva located in one of the city's mixed neighborhoods. Local firefighters were dispatched to the area and managed to put out the fire.


The police reported that no damage was caused to the Holy Scriptures and that an investigation was launched into the incident.


Chief Superintendent Avi Edri, commander of the local police station, told Ynet that this was serious incident, particularly in light of the recent events.


"We collected all the evidence needed to advance the investigation. We have a lead, and I believe we will soon reach the person responsible for the arson with the help of intelligence information."


Police officials noted that the yeshiva students are currently on vacation and that the police plan to find solutions to secure the building. Police course rejected the possibility that the incident was a provocation, confirming that all evidence shows the arsonist was an Arab.


'Arabs incited against yeshiva'

Rabbi Yossi Stern, head of the yeshiva, told Ynet that during the Akko riots and afterwards the city's Arab residents incited against the yeshiva and its institutions. He added that the police should have been guarding the place following the clashes and that it is unclear how the place was torched.


"I plan to meet with the mayor and the police commanders and hope to receive answers about what happened and how to move on," Rabbi Stern said.


During the violent clashes between Jews and Arabs in Akko, which began on Yom Kippur Eve, Arab residents claimed that the yeshiva members were responsible for the high tensions. The yeshiva said in response that it was working to advance values and education in the city.


Last week, police announced the hundreds of reinforcement troops deployed in Akko would be withdrawn after restoring order in the city that two weeks earlier found itself spiraling into a nightmare of racially-charged riots.


Northern District Commander Shimon Koren held a meeting on Tuesday with deputy Menachem Haver to assess the security situation in the city.


The two decided that come morning the hundreds of policemen brought in to reinforce Akko's usual police force would be withdrawn from the city, on the condition that no further rioting followed the holiday of Simchat Torah - which ended Tuesday evening.


Special Forces deployed in Akko would also be withdrawn, as would Border Guard officers and undercover agents working in the main conflict areas.


However, the police chiefs agreed, Akko's local station would receive an additional 200 policemen until further notice.


For nearly a fortnight police fought to quell the nightly confrontations, with rioters hurling rocks at, and setting fire to, homes and businesses.


In all 90 people - half Jewish, half Arab - were arrested for incitement or violence. Twelve of those detained are still in custody. Police are seeking to indict six of them, and their cases are currently in the hands of the State Prosecutor's Office.


פרסום ראשון: 10.26.08, 09:26
 new comment
This will delete your current comment