The school in the Western Galilee village of Abu Snan will be closed Sunday for fears of renewed sectarian violence following a brawl that erupted late Friday night between some three dozen youths from the village’s Muslim and Druze communities, in which at least 26 people were injured.
The announcement was made by the two communities’ leaders in the Muslim-majority mixed town, as efforts to calm tensions between the sides were underway Saturday.
At least eight people were hospitalized in Nahariya with moderate to serious injuries after a grenade was thrown during the Friday night scuffle. Some of the injured sustained shrapnel wounds to the head, stomach and chest. A video of the violent incident was published on the popular Arabic-language website Panet, according to which some shots were fired during the fight.
Police sent reinforcements to the town to restore order and maintain calm.
Channel 10 reported that the fight erupted over the security situation, which has seen recent tensions with Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank — in part over Israeli plans to step up building activity in the city’s eastern sector and religious tensions at the Temple Mount — spread to Israeli Arab communities after last Saturday’s police shooting of a 22-year-old man in Kafr Kanna.
Palestinian leaders have used inflammatory language to warn against Israeli plans to change the status quo and allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount — something Israel has denied. Six Israelis have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks in recent weeks, including a Druze Border Police officer.
Ynet reported that, earlier in the week, two Muslim students at the local high school showed up wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh as a show of protest and were allegedly planning to demonstrate against the shooting of Kheir Hamdan in Kafr Kanna when a confrontation broke out with the Druze students. The incident may have led to the Friday night melee.
Members of the Druze community serve in the IDF and the Israeli Border Police, while members of the rest of Israel’s Arab community largely do not.