Police arrested six Jewish suspects who allegedly assaulted an Arab man and hurled stones at vehicles on Sunday as racial tensions in Jerusalem continued to fester.
Several witnesses told the Haaretz daily that the suspects approached passersby in downtown Jerusalem, asking them questions in order to discern the accent of respondents. Those with an Arabic accent were attacked by the mob.
Footage uploaded to social media showed dozens of young Jews near the Jaffa street light rail station chanting “death to Arabs,” with several waving Israeli flags.
“I was at a bar and saw a group of 60 guys shouting ‘A Jew is a good soul, an Arab is a son of a bitch!’ They were looking for someone with an Arabic accent,” Yuval Avraham told the Haaretz daily. “I followed them as they went down Jaffa Street. At that point there were no police officers onto them. They were looking for Arabs, and suddenly one of them shouted ‘There’s an Arab over there!’ Everyone started running after the guy. Then a police car arrived and several officers ran after them.”
ירושלים, ה-2014 שלך חזרה. "מוות לערבים" במרכז העיר. המשטרה עצרה 6 צעירים יהודים בחשד לתקיפת עוברי אורח ערבים. pic.twitter.com/aYPBngSGaO
— نير حسون Nir Hasson ניר חסון (@nirhasson) April 19, 2021
Monday’s events come against the backdrop of a handful of videos uploaded on social media by East Jerusalem Palestinians in which they can be seen striking ultra-Orthodox and religious Jewish passersby. The clips, uploaded primarily to the social network TikTok, have evoked widespread condemnation by both Jewish and Arab MKs.
In the latest documented incident from Monday evening, a Haredi teen could be seen riding his bike near Tzahal Square in downtown Jerusalem when three Arab youth accost and kick him repeatedly before fleeing.
הסרטון הזה צולם היום בלילה בכיכר צה"ל בירושלים, מול שוטרים קבוצה של ערבים קופצים על צעיר יהודי, בלי פחד לב ירושלים, משהו רע קורה פה pic.twitter.com/Z35VDtmZlN
— חיים גולדברג (@haim_goldberg) April 19, 2021
Jerusalem has also seen regular clashes over the past week between Palestinian residents and police who have been blocking Palestinians from sitting on the steps of Damascus Gate. In an unofficial Jerusalem tradition, thousands of Palestinians sit in the area following nighttime prayers during Ramadan.
Police have deployed water cannons and stun grenades to disperse crowds while rioters have hurled stones and set off fireworks at cops.
The Islamic holy month has long been a flashpoint for violence between young Palestinians and Israeli security forces.