Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Israeli police have arrested a gang of Jewish extremists who have carried out several attacks on the homes and property of Arab citizens in the northern city of “Nazareth Illit.” Police said they had arrested 9 men aged between 15 – 22 years old, belonging to the gang whose activities included setting fire to houses and cars.
This comes at a time when Arab-Israeli relations in Israel have seriously deteriorated due to the spreading of Israeli racism which has manifested itself in calls demanding the expulsion of Arabs [from Israel] coming even from within the Israeli Knesset. The police revealed that most of the young men had been arrested previously in suspicion of destruction of property belonging to Arab citizens, but were released due to lack of evidence.
Police revealed that they had finally arrested the group after two of its members had broken into a house owned by an Arab. A police spokesman said that investigators had collected sufficient evidence to charge members of the group.
Jamal Zahalka, an Israeli-Arab and a member of the Knesset revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “Racism has become a central trend within Israeli politics.”
He added “This group [of Jewish extremists] does not work alone, but all the racists in Israeli stand behind it, especially the racist political leaders who incite against Arabs day and night”
Zahalka warned of the dangers of racist attacks on Arabs spreading, saying that “the State [of Israel] and not just the right-wing parties must be held responsible for what is happening if they do not take firm action to curb racism.”
Jamal Zahalka added that “there is a law in Israel against racism but it has never been applied, it is mere ink on paper [i.e. ineffective].” He went on to say that “in daily life we suffer from racial discrimination at an official level, and at the public level, and it [racism] covers all aspects of life.”