Jews Burn Arab Houses in North Israel: Radio

Jewish rioters torched two houses belonging to Arab families Saturday in northern Israel after three days of violent clashes, sparked when Jewish youths attacked an Arab motorist.

In another part of the port-city of Acre police used tear gas and noise-making devices to disperse several hundred Jews who tried to attack an Arab family, Israeli public radio said, adding that no one was wounded in either incident.

Over 700 police patrolled the coastal town of 50,000 people on Saturday, a police commander told public radio, after riots erupted three days ago on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

Israeli police said the clashes broke out when an Arab resident drove through a conservative Jewish neighborhood blaring music from his car stereo, seen as a disrespectful to the sanctity of Yom Kippur.

Witnesses said a group of Jewish youths assaulted the driver, after throwing rocks at his car, and accused him of deliberately disrupting Yom Kippur, when most Jews in Israel observe a religious ban on driving.

Hundreds of protestors took to the streets shortly thereafter, damaging around 100 cars and 40 shops, according to the police.

In following days Jewish and Arab rioters clashed with each other and with police. Two protestors and a police officer have been slightly wounded and around 30 people have been arrested since the violence broke out.

On Friday Israeli leaders called for calm from both sides as hard-line Jewish and Arab lawmakers traded accusations of blame for the violence.

Arabs with Israeli citizenship, the descendents of those who remained in the Jewish state after the 1948 war that followed its creation, make up around 20 percent of the Israeli population.
( and AFP)

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