Rabbi in Acco: ´What is This, Nazi Germany Here?´

Arab marauders smashed up a Talmud Torah in the northern city of Acco (Acre) over the Sabbath, painting Arabic graffiti and swastikas on the walls, destroying furniture, and scattering holy books.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 10:19

The latest and gravest escalation in the struggle between Jews and Arabs in the mixed city of Acco, between Haifa and the Lebanese border on the Mediterranean coast, occurred this past Friday night. Rabbi Avraham Shushan, a rabbi at the school at which the vandalism occurred, told Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen that a worshiper who arrived for early Sabbath morning prayers was the first to discover the destruction:

"He saw the lights on and the windows broken. He went in and the sight shocked him. All the walls had swastikas, and the Arabic words 'Hamas' and 'Allahu Akbar' [Allah is great]. Destruction all over - it looked like Sodom and Gomorrah. The vandals went into the classrooms, dumped out the equipment, turned over the principal's office, and threw the Torah books in all directions. They took expensive equipment worth thousands of shekels. The worshiper went by foot to the police and called them to come, which they did... He told me about it on Saturday night, and I called Rabbi Yashar, the rabbi of Akko. He came and cried out, 'What is this, Nazi Germany here?'"

Rabbi Shushan said that in his 30 years in the city, he had "never experienced an Arab pogrom like this one... I don't know what's going on here."

Several days ago, a band of Arab youths attacked and cruelly beat a Jewish girl. Six months ago, local Arabs burned trees standing at the entrance to the Talmud Torah, and during the recent Simchat Torah holiday, Arabs surrounded students from the local Yeshivat Hesder [who combine Torah study and army service] and threatened them, until one student was forced to fire in the air to disperse them.

Knesset Members of the National Religious Party-National Union visited Acco a month ago, warning of the deterioration in the city. The police claimed at the time that the violence and clashes were of a criminal, not nationalistic nature.

"When we toured the city a month ago," MK Uri Ariel said today, "it was claimed that we are provocateurs and looking for trouble. This pogrom in the Talmud Torah proves that the bitter reality is that in the year 2006, anti-Semitic pogroms take place in sovereign Israel. The police in Acco must give an accounting as to how it is that Arab rioters feel free enough to carry out such a despicable act. We won't allow the police to evade its responsibility."

"We have no illusions," Ariel said. "We know what the Arabs are trying to do. They have composed a new Declaration of Independence, and they want to change the [Israeli] flag and anthem. The Arab citizens understand the trend, and they go out and paint swastikas in yeshivot."

In another city with a large Arab population, Ramle (near Tel Aviv), an Arab organization is renewing its activities for more say in city affairs - and is hoping to similarly encourage Arab populations in other mixed cities such as Jaffa and Lod as well.

Just this past Friday, the Israeli-Arab organization Mossawa presented a position paper demanding recognition as a Palestinian-Arab national minority and the right to return to Arab villages abandoned during the 1948 War of Independence. In what some view as a drive to turn Israel into a bi-national state, Mossawa also demands:
* Allotments for immigration and citizenship
* Educational and religious autonomy
* Changes to the Israeli flag and national anthem
* Appropriate representation in national bodies
* Special division of national resources
* Ties with other Arab countries



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