Israeli police scuffle with protesters in Arab neighborhood

April 20, 2021 GMT

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli police scuffled with protesters in an Arab neighborhood in Tel Aviv for a second night late Monday after the assault of a rabbi over the weekend.

The protesters, including Arabs and Jews, say Jewish nationalist religious groups are buying up property in the traditionally Arab district of Jaffa, which has rapidly gentrified in recent years as luxury housing has gone up.

Video taken by The Associated Press late Monday showed protesters and plainclothes police pushing and shoving as the police appeared to take a young Arab boy away in an unmarked squad car with flashing lights.

The police said a “young male” was briefly detained for setting off fireworks and then released “due to his age” without providing further details.

The latest tensions began Sunday when two Arab men punched and kicked Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, the head of a local yeshiva, while he was out looking at properties, according to local media. Police arrested the men, and right-wing politicians condemned the attack as a hate crime.


Rival protests were held that night, with police forming a barrier between religious Jews condemning the attack and mostly Arab residents demonstrating against police. Some protesters later hurled rocks and fireworks at the police.

Jaffa was a major trading port before the creation of Israel and the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, when many of its Palestinian residents fled or were driven from their homes. They joined a larger exodus of some 700,000 refugees from what is now Israel. Today, Jaffa is a trendy district of Tel Aviv that is home to both Jews and Arabs.