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Arab Meretz MK says he’s terrified by riots: ‘The worst could be upon us’

Meretz MK Issawi Frej tells the Times of Israel that the scenes of Jewish rioters attacking Arab Israelis make him terrified that “the worst could be upon us.”

“The assault we’re seeing in Bat Yam is going to leave marks that will be very difficult to erase. It will be very hard to move forward,” Frej says.

“I’m terrified that things will deteriorate further. Our young, reckless [Arab] youth will want to defend themselves. This could take us to a very dangerous place.”

Frej mentions the October 2000 events, a series of sustained clashes between Arab Israelis and Israeli police in which 13 Arabs were killed. The events shaped the relationship between Arab Israelis and the Israeli state for a generation. A state investigation into the matter found that police had used excessive force, but no officials were ever charged.

Meretz MK Issawi Frej attends an Economic Committee meeting at the Knesset on July 12, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“This is far worse than October 2000. Back then, we saw clashes between Arab society and the police. What we’re seeing now is between Arab citizens and Jewish citizens. It’s like a civil war, without weapons,” Frej says.

Freij calls for Arab and Jewish leaders to head to the streets and seek to establish calm. “Now, please, it’s not too late. Go out and make your voices heard,” he pleads.

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