El Ghriba Synagogue
Photo courtesy of the Ramla religious center

Tensions rising between Arabs, Jews in Ramla

Jewish residents say Arab neighbors set fire to local synagogue, but police believe fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring

"Price tag" Ramla style? Residents of Ramla's Agash neighborhood claimed Wednesday that Arabs tried to torch the city's El Ghriba Synagogue. The police, however, are treating the case as an electrical fire.


The majority of Agash's residents are Arabs, but the neighborhood is home to several religious Jewish families as well. "We're being abandoned here," one of Agash's Jewish residents warned. "This could end very badly."


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The Jewish families operate the synagogue, which during the weekdays also serves as a religious seminary. The alleged arson took place on Monday night and Agash's Jewish residents point the finger at their Arab neighbors.


In the past, the Jewish residents of the neighborhood claimed that the Arabs were harassing them in an attempt to get them to leave. Several complaints to that effect were filed with the police, alleging physical altercations, stoning and the torching of cars.

הסלמה? הרכב שהוצת בתחילת השבוע (צילום: הגרעין התורני ברמלה)

Headmaster's torched car (photo courtesy of Ramla religious center)


The Jewish families said that the fire at the synagogue was another step in what they called "increasing harassment." Earlier in the week a car belonging to Ramla's religious high school headmaster was torched.


"No one can tell me that this isn’t deliberate harassment," Rabbi Shelly, who runs the city's spiritual center, told Ynet. "There is no way this place could catch fire without someone setting it," he insisted. "This could end up with someone getting hurt."


The police, however, are not sure foul play was involved, saying that the fire was most likely caused by an electrical problem.


The police also said that it was not uncommon for the neighborhood's Jewish residents to try and blame their Arab neighbors for acts of wrongdoing they are responsible for.


But the Jewish residents claim that given the mixed nature of Agash, the police would rather just look the other way: "We're suffering from endless badgering here because we're Jewish," a local resident told Ynet. "Still, we're not going anywhere."




פרסום ראשון: 12.21.11, 10:48
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