Dozens of young Druze from the Western Galilee town of Kisra threw stones at vehicles in the nearby town of Har Halutz on Friday evening, calling out abusive slogans including "Death to Jews."
The youth had come a short time before to the road between Har Halutz and Tefen, where they set fire to an electricity post on which a cell phone antenna had been installed last week. Carmiel police were called, and after one patrol car was attacked with stones, the Special Patrol Unit was also called. However, the youth dispersed before they arrived.
Witnesses said that around 200 Kisra residents came to the road by foot, in cars and with ATVs. "Some families told me about the noise and said the rioters banged the bodywork of their car. Some were masked," the security coordinator for Har Halutz told Ynet.
"We called the police, but they were unable to reach the town because of the barricade near the electricity pole that had been set alight, and because the rioters threw stones at them," he continued. "With residents of Lavon, we blocked off the road along its entire length so that innocent people wouldn't find themselves caught up in the riot."
A more serious incident occurred as the youth made their way back towards Kisra. "We stood with some vehicles at the entrance to Har Halutz, and when they arrived, some 50 or 60 of them threw stones over the entrance gate. They also called 'Death to the Jews'," the security coordinator said.
At this time, members of the Special Patrol Unit arrived, who fired tear gas canisters, but the youth managed to leave.
One Har Halutz resident said her daughter (18) wanted to go out with friends but was unable to pass the entrance gate.
"We saw the disturbance from our house window," she recalled. "My daughter said that when the youth came back after setting fire to the antenna, they threw stones and called 'Death to Jews.' It was hard and very disappointing. They are Druze, we trust them, yet the minute there is a crisis they call 'Death to Jews'? It's very frustrating and disappointing."
We play basketball together
The same woman said there are usually good relations between the residents of the two towns, and they even play basketball together. About the antenna, she said that even in Har Halutz they had been concerned about the installation.
"The subject was discussed, there were claims to both sides, but even the most extreme opponent here would not have set fire to the antenna," she said. "It's disappointing that they behave like that, especially as they all have cell phones in their pockets."
Carmiel Police Chief Superintendent Rami Neimark confirmed the main claims of Har Halutz residents.
"On Friday evening at around 10 pm we received reports of disturbances on the road between Tefen and Har Halutz," he said. "A patrol car arrived and stones were thrown at it, so the Special Patrol Unit was called. When the youth had dispersed, we discovered the electricity post which had been set alight."
Neimark added that the youth had rapidly dispersed, and that an investigation is underway. No arrests have been made.
Galiee residents recalled that the violent disturbances of Peqiin about two years ago also began with the burning of a cell-phone antenna. "I hope the police will be ready this time," a resident said. "An event like the one on Friday can't be organized within five minutes, meaning that it was planned beforehand, yet nobody knew about it."