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      Akko Mosque Irritates Jewish Residents

      Jewish residents of Akko upset by the scheduled opening of a mosque in the heart of a Jewish neighborhood.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 2/3/2012, 2:15 AM

      Akko
      Akko
      Kobi Finkler

      Jewish residents of the city of Akko in northern Israel are upset by the scheduled opening later this month of a mosque in the heart of a Jewish neighborhood in the mixed Jewish-Arab city.

      Public officials have already expressed their discontent over the idea that a mosque will be opened in a Jewish area, and a member of the Akko City Council member, Shlomo Fedida, has begun a struggle against the opening of the mosque.

      Fedida told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that some of the Arabs in Akko, who make up less than 30 percent of the population, are trying to conquer the city, as he put it.

      “Until now there was a status quo, but recently the Arabs began preparations for the renewal of the historic mosque in the city,” he said. “The Arabs are planning to put up a muezzin and a minaret, begin praying there and then take it further. Unfortunately, the State gives them a hand.”

      Fedida said that many Jews who live in the city center have already begun to pack up and leave because of the Arab takeover. “People have started to sell their homes. There used to only be mosques in the old city of Akko, and now it’s come to us. You go to synagogue on Shabbat and the Arabs are barbecuing right in front of you.”

      He called on hilltop youth from Judea and Samaria to populate the city with Jews and thus save it from the Arab takeover.

      “In the past ten years, 20,000 Jews have abandoned Akko,” said Fedida. “Arabs from nearby villages came instead. The core Torah group has become the minority. It's time that all the people of Israel know that if Jews continue to leave Akko, then within seven years, there will be an Arab mayor here. I’m calling on the hilltop youth to come settle in Akko. Today it’s Akko that’s being taken over by Arabs. Tomorrow it will be Nahariya and the day after tomorrow it will be Carmiel.”

      According to recently presented special research, the Arab population in cities with Jewish and Arab populations is growing while the Jewish population is going down.

      The research showed that in the city of Lod, the Arab population rose about a quarter between 2003 and 2009 while the Jewish population fell about 7.86 percent.

      In 2008 during the Yom Kippur holiday, violent clashes occurred between Akko’s Arabs and Jews.

      The clashes began when an Arab driver nearly ran down a group of Jews in the street and the Jews, fearing a terror attack, stoned him, causing Arabs to riot and vandalize Jewish property.