Prosecutors say more than 600 indictments filed over last May’s Jewish-Arab violence

According to report, 89% of defendants were Arab, with one-fourth of them minors; 239 were charged with terror or acting out of a racist motive

A car that was burned during recent clashes between Jewish and Arab residents of Lod, in the central Israeli city of Lod, May 23, 2021. (Flash90)
A car that was burned during recent clashes between Jewish and Arab residents of Lod, in the central Israeli city of Lod, May 23, 2021. (Flash90)

More than 600 indictments have been filed since the unprecedented intercommunal violence that shook Israel’s mixed cities during the Gaza war in May last year, according to a new report Tuesday by the State Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the report, 89 percent of the defendants were Arab, and about a quarter were minors. In total, 616 indictments were filled.

The report said that 239 of those 616 Israelis were charged with more severe terroristic or racially motivated offenses, linked to 108 incidents. Eighty-five percent of those charged for those offenses were Arab and 15% Jewish, with one-fifth minors at the time of the act.

The State Prosecutor’s Office noted that there are another 80 cases where legal proceedings have ended, with sentences handed out in accordance with the severity of the offenses.

During the 11-day conflict in May between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, violence within Israel flared in several mixed Arab-Jewish towns.

While the city of Lod was seen as the epicenter of such riots, unrest also spread to Haifa, Bat Yam, Jaffa and other locales, with at least two people killed and hundreds injured.

Police are seen in Lod during ethnic rioting in the mixed Jewish-Arab city in central Israel, May 12, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Though not unprecedented, the internecine violence was some of the worst in Israel’s history, bringing to the surface long-simmering conflicts between Arab and Jewish Israelis.

Alongside the escalation in violence between Israel and Hamas, the mass unrest was also fueled in part by anger over clashes in Jerusalem’s Old City and protests over the pending evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem.

The Mossawa Center, which advocates for Arab rights in Israel, said that the report was evidence of “selective enforcement” by police and prosecutors, and that Jewish Israelis who attacked Arab citizens during the violence have not been brought to justice.

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