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‘You believed in coexistence’: Lod Jewish man killed by Arab mob laid to rest

Hundreds attend funeral of Yigal Yehoshua, 56, who was fatally struck in the head with a brick during riot while driving home last week

Family and relatives attend the funeral of Yigal Yehoshua, who succumbed to injuries after he was wounded during Arab-Israeli riots in Lod, May 18, 2021 in Hadid. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Family and relatives attend the funeral of Yigal Yehoshua, who succumbed to injuries after he was wounded during Arab-Israeli riots in Lod, May 18, 2021 in Hadid. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral Tuesday afternoon of a resident of Lod who died Monday, six days after being critically wounded when Arab rioters hurled rocks at him during unrest in the central Israeli city.

Yigal Yehoshua, 56, was hit in the head with a brick when his car was pelted with rocks while on his way home last week as violent protests swept Lod. He was laid to rest in a cemetery in his family’s community of Moshav Hadid.

Yehoshua was rushed to hospital in serious condition following the attack, but his condition deteriorated and he succumbed to his wounds. After Yehoshua’s death, his family announced that they would donate his organs.

Speaking at the funeral, Efi Yehoshua said his brother Yigal would be pained by the ongoing scenes of unrest in Israel’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities.

Yigal Yehoshua, 56, died after being struck in the head with a brick while driving home in Lod. (Courtesy)

“You believed in coexistence,” he said, addressing his late brother. “You said, ‘It will not happen to me.’ You thought that everything would be fine.

“You have paid with your life — and given life to other people thanks to the donation of your organs,” he said.

“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.”

The funeral was attended by Lod mayor Yair Revivo as well as many dozens of members of the public who did not know Yehoshua.

Tensions between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities spiraled into mob violence in multiple ethnically mixed communities over the past week, with police failing to contain the most serious internal unrest to grip the country in years.

Israeli police seen on the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod, where synagogues and cars were torched as well as shops damaged, as Arab residents rioted in the city on May 12, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Intense Arab rioting broke out in Lod last 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.

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.

Leon Shranin, 19, was seriously wounded by an Arab mob amid rioting in Jaffa. (Screenshot: Channel 13)

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, though he has since improved and is in good 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.

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