A Jewish mob dragged an Arab driver from his car and beat him with glass bottles before fleeing the scene in the town of Binyamina on Thursday night, according to witness testimony.
The driver was rushed to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center in moderate condition, where he was being treated for head injuries.
Witnesses told the Walla news site that roughly 10 men, some of them with yarmulkes, surrounded the victim’s vehicle, forcing him to stop. They then smashed his windows, pulled the driver from the car and struck him repeatedly, including with glass bottles, as he lay helpless on the street.
One witness said he pulled up to the junction at the tail end of the assault. “I saw them beating someone on the ground, and then they immediately got into their cars and fled,” he told Walla, adding that he called police.
Authorities were investigating the incident as a nationalistically motivated assault.
יודונאצים ביצעו לימודי הנהג ערבי, כיכר הגיבורים, כביש 652 בנימינה.
23:50 – כעשרה גברים בחולצות שחורות, חלקם עם כיפות עצרו רכב נוסע ובו בן אדם. ערבי.
הוציאו אותו מרכב, הכו אותו ושברו עליו בקבוקי זכוכית.
50 מטר מהבית שלי
— ????Maoz Inon???? מעוז ינון???? (@maozinon) May 27, 2021
Also on Thursday night, suspects hurled Molotov cocktails into the home of a Jewish family in the mixed-city of Lod. Inhabitants of the home managed to quickly put the fire out before anyone was injured.
According to the Ynet news site, they used fire extinguishers that had been acquired during the recent riots in the city for just such an event.
Since the start of the 11-day war between Israel and Gaza terror groups earlier this month, violence has broken out in so-called mixed cities, with Arab and Jewish mobs targeting often defenseless passersby, picking them out based on their ethnicities.
תיעוד ממצלמות אבטחה של זריקת בקבוקי תבערה לעבר בית ובו משפחה יהודיה בשכונת שער העיר בלוד. התושבים מדווחים על פגיעות של שלושה בקבוקים בבית pic.twitter.com/QzZDF27xiG
— Bar Peleg (@bar_peleg) May 28, 2021
Thursday’s incident in Binyamina was the second Jewish mob assault of Arabs in the town this month.
On May 12, a crowd of hundreds, many wielding clubs, knives, and Israeli flags arrived at a gas station at the entrance of the city. “They vandalized the station and shot off fireworks as they looked for Arab passersby to attack,” one of the gas station’s co-owners Shoshana Stavy recalled in a Radio 103 FM interview on Thursday.
“One of them shouted ‘Here’s an Arab!’ and everyone ran to beat him. And then someone else shouted ‘A leftist!’ so everyone chased after whoever they had decided was a leftist,” she said.
Footage from the scene showed two Arab gas station workers from nearby Jisr a-Zarqa lying on the ground as several good Samaritans stood in front of them, trying to fend off the Jewish mob.
הלינץ׳ בצומת בנימינה אתמול. לא ראיתי אותו בפיד שלי עדיין.
האיש בחולצה האפורה והאיש בחולצה הלבנה מגוננים על עובר האורח החף מפשע מפני האנשים בחולצות השחורות. ניתן לראות אותו שקוע על הרצפה בסוף הסרטון pic.twitter.com/lxHUTB3ixj
— Naaman Stavy نعمان ستڤي (@NaamanStavy) May 13, 2021
“The police arrived after the beatings began and eventually rescued the victims but did nothing active to stop the riot,” Stavy said.
“It was complete anarchy. People were walking around holding clubs and rocks,” she said, adding that the incident lasted for nearly four hours.
Stavy told 103 FM that she saw a small number of rioters arrested but was skeptical whether any of them would be indicted. The gas station owner said it took a week and a half before officers came to collect security camera footage.
On Monday, police launched Operation Law and Order and have since arrested over 350 people on suspicion of involvement in the violent clashes between Jews and Arabs earlier this month.
So far 175 indictments have been filed, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said Thursday, adding that the operation would continue in the days ahead.
Almost 2,000 suspects have been arrested since the Gaza war broke out on May 10, police said.
A police spokesman told The New York Times Monday after the first day of the operation that 70 percent of those arrested were Arab and 30% were Jewish.
Charges have included assaulting police officers in aggravated circumstances, endangering human life on a public thoroughfare, participating in riots, throwing rocks, disorderly conduct in a public place, arson, and interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duties.
The drive has seen officers “in broad deployment against the rioters, the criminals, and anyone who was involved in the disturbances of the peace to bring them to justice,” police said.
Ynet reported that the operation’s aim was also to “settle the score” with criminal gangs operating in Arab communities. The operation was approved after a consultation between Public Security Minister Amir Ohana and Shabtai.
On Monday, heads of Arab municipalities met with Shabtai and complained that police were only taking action against violent crime in the Arab community because it had become a threat to the Jewish community, Haaretz reported.
Criticism also came from MK Aida Touma-Sliman, of the predominantly Arab Joint List party, who lamented that police have for years ignored violent crime in Arab towns and cities.
“All of a sudden the police now wake up and want to launch an operation for law and order,” Touma-Silman said, according to Haaretz. “Where were they when crime was running rampant in the Arab community? It seems that when it is related to saving Arab lives the police don’t move.”