A number of people have asked me to post the reactions issued by Meretz party figures in Israel, following the “Yom Kippur disturbances” in the city of Acre. The original statements can be found at the Meretz party website in Hebrew. The translations to English are mine.
Yossi Beilin, October 9: Nothing being done to address discrimination against Arab citizens
In reaction to the events in Acre, Meretz MK Yossi Beilin stated that eight years have gone by since the October 2000 riots, and nothing has been done to implement the recommendations of the Orr Commission regarding the unequal status of Israel’s Arab citizens. “We are sitting on a powder keg, but somehow we’re surprised each time the tension explodes,” he commented, calling for a concerted effort to address this issue.
Haim Oron and Zehava Galon, October 10: We mustn’t surrender to extremists
Meretz chair, MK Haim Oron, and Meretz MK Zehava Galon have separately called on the Mayor of Acre, Shimon Lancri, not to cancel the annual Acre Theater Festival during Sukkot. Oron said that such a step would be, “an act of surrender to Arab and Jewish extremists”. Galon stated that, “the supreme test of the police is to uphold democratic rule in the country and not permit mob rule”. The two MKs stressed that extremists on both sides must not be allowed to dictate events.
Haim Oron, October 16: Free the Arab driver from Acre
Meretz chair, MK Haim Oron, has called on the Public Security Minister, requesting that he consider the release of Tawfik Jamal, the driver from Acre who drove into a predominantly Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur eve, and who was later arrested on charges of harming religious sensitivities and reckless endangerment. Oron stated: “I don’t see the logic of this [arrest], which fuels a local fire and turns it into a national blaze. On one hand, they cancel the Acre Theater Festival, which is extremely important for coexistence, and on the other, they generate riots through this arrest.”
[Note: Tawfik Jamal was later sent to house arrest by a court in Haifa.]