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Clashes Erupt in Akko on Yom Kippur
Filed under: Terror attacks on Israel, Israeli Arabs, News, Israeli society
On: Friday, October 10, 2008 – By: Israel e News

ACRE, Israel (AP) – Arabs and Jews traded blows and threw rocks in this northern Israeli city on Thursday, in a second day of sectarian violence that marred the somber Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
Police set up roadblocks in and around Acre, one of only a few Arab-Jewish towns in Israel, to separate the angry crowds. Officers fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons to quell the violence.
Several people were arrested, but there were no reports of serious injury.
Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Ehud Olmert, called on Arabs and Jews in the city to restore calm. “Coexistence between Jews and Arabs is of the utmost importance, especially in mixed cities, and all efforts must be made to live together,” Olmert said in a statement. 
The fighting erupted late Wednesday, after the start of Yom Kippur, in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Acre. Observant Jews fast, pray for forgiveness of their sins and abstain from most activities, including driving, during Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement.
Police said an Arab driver entered the neighborhood and was attacked by Jewish youths who beat him. Abbas Zakour, an Arab parliament member, said the driver lives in the neighborhood and was trying to get home.
Israeli media and some police officials said the driver and two companions had loud music blasting from the car radio as they entered the neighborhood.
After the attack on the driver, several hundred Arab residents rioted, chanting “Allahu Akbar,” or God is Great, and smashing the windows of dozens of cars and shops in Acre’s main commercial area, police said.
With the end of Yom Kippur after sundown Thursday, Jewish residents took to the streets, some chanting “Death to the Arabs.” At one point, Arabs and Jews scuffled and threw rocks at each other, police said.
Police eventually managed to separate the sides, setting up roadblocks in and around Acre. Riots continued in Acre’s Old City, where hundreds of Arab residents threw stones and burned tires, police said.
Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population. They enjoy full rights but have suffered from discrimination under successive Israeli governments.
The worst clashes between Israeli Arabs and Jews in recent years occurred in October 2000 when thousands of Israeli Arabs rioted in the north of the country for several days in solidarity with the Palestinian uprising that was then erupting in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Arab protesters blocked off roads and threw rocks, fire bombs and in some incidents opened fire at police. Police opened fire at rioters and killed 13. | Digg | Newsvine | NowPublic | reddit | Tailrank | Technorati |

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