A 56-year-old resident of Lod died Monday, six days after being critically wounded when Arab rioters hurled rocks at him during unrest in the central city.
Yigal Yehoshua was on his way home last Tuesday evening when he found himself in the middle of violent protests sweeping the city. His car was pelted with rocks and he was hit in the head with a brick.
Yehoshua was rushed to Shamir Medical Center in serious condition, but eventually his condition deteriorated and he succumbed to his wounds.
Intense Arab rioting broke out in the city on Tuesday following the death of an Arab man a night earlier. Mousa Hassouna had been shot by Jewish residents in what Jewish witnesses asserted was self-defense during rioting.
An initial investigation had indicated Hassouna was standing dozens of meters away from the Jewish suspects when he was shot. Nevertheless, on Thursday the four Jewish suspects in the fatal shooting were ordered released under relatively lenient restrictive conditions. A police representative told the court that the suspects’ version of events had received a boost over the last few days of investigation.
After Yehoshua’s death, his family announced that they would donate his organs.
“Yigal was a paragon of coexistence, he did not fear anything,” his wife, Irena told Channel 12 news. “He worked as an electrician and repaired homes for all, Arabs and Jews,” she added.
She said the violent riots “hurt us all. These incidents aren’t good for anyone and I’m sure both Arabs and Jews are sorry for them.”
President Reuven Rivlin said he sends his condolences to the family. “The mind cannot comprehend how the life of a giving man, loved by all and devoted to his family, was cut short,” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said he shares the family’s grief. “We will find and hold accountable those who participated in this murder. No one will escape punishment. May his memory be a blessing,” the PM tweeted.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said he is praying with the family for quieter days.
Lod’s mayor, Yair Revivo said his city will do everything it can to support the family “in these difficult times.”
“I call on everyone again to calm the tensions on this difficult evening, to avoid violence, and not to be drawn into provocations,” Revivo said.
Tensions between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities spiraled into mob violence in multiple ethnically mixed communities over the past week, turning cities into veritable war zones, with police failing to contain the most serious internal unrest to grip the country in years.
Several other people, Jewish and Arab, have been assaulted and seriously wounded in shooting incidents and beatings during the unrest.
In Jaffa on Thursday, a 19-year-old soldier was seriously wounded after being beaten, Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv said.
The soldier, Leon Shranin, later told Channel 12 news he had been heading to his grandfather’s home in Bat Yam, a nearby city. “There shouldn’t be clashes, it’s unnecessary, it’s nonsense,” Shranin told the network.
In a nearby hospital, Saeed Mousa, an Arab man who on Wednesday was attacked and savagely beaten by a Jewish mob in Bat Yam, was hospitalized in serious condition.
“He’s a human, just like me. No one deserves to suffer like this,” Shranin said when he heard about Mousa.
Tensions have significantly calmed since Saturday after police began mass arrests of those involved in the rioting, and Israel’s Shin Bet security agency announced it would be assisting in efforts to prevent violence between Jews and Arabs in mixed cities.
Over the course of the clashes, some 112 Jewish homes have been torched and another 386 looted amid the rioting, according to the Walla news site. It said there has been one case of an Arab home being torched, which resulted in the injury of two children — a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl in Jaffa.
The firebombing in Jaffa was allegedly committed by Arab Israelis, in an apparent case of “mistaken identity,” an unnamed police official told Walla.
On Monday, the police announced it had arrested a 20-year-old Arab resident of the city on suspicion of being involved in the attack.
According to the Haaretz daily, 116 suspects have been indicted so far for incidents related to the unrest — all of them are Arab.