Jewish Driver 'Lucky to be Alive' After Attempted Arab Lynch

Serious incident caps day of violence by Arab citizens of Israel, supposedly sparked by shooting of a crazed knife wielder.

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Gil Ronen,

Border Police arrest rioter
Border Police arrest rioter
Flash 90

A day of widespread violence by Israeli Arabs was capped Sunday night by a serious incident at the Arab town of Taibeh in central Israel.

Rioters near the Taibeh bridge forced a car, in which a resident of Netanya was driving, to stop, and proceeded to set it on fire. The driver received treatment in an ambulance and filed a police complaint.

The driver was interviewed on IDF Radio and described his ordeal.

"I am alive and that is excellent,” recounted the man, who was identified as Moshe. “I was returning from work and on the way I entered the area of the riot. They stopped me, tried to talk to me but I did not understand anything because it was in Arabic. They started throwing rocks at me and setting the car on fire.

"When the car started to burn a few people helped me get out from the right side of the vehicle. It took a few seconds. I felt fire and I felt that the car was burning. I tried to hide under the seat from the rocks, and then they helped me get out of the car and really pushed me into the car of some person who took me to the police station."

Moshe said that he regularly drives through Taibeh on the way home from work and did not feel threatened until yesterday.

"It is really on the level of a miracle that I got out with a few scratches,” he said. “I washed my face, washed my hands, and discovered that nothing really happened to me.” He said that he wishes to express his great gratitude to the people who helped him. 

The attack is reminiscent of attacks that took place in October of 2000, at the outset of the terror war known as the Second Intifada, or the Oslo War.

A day of violence

Arabs rioted and attacked Jews throughout the day on Sunday as the security situation reached new lows.

A firebomb and rocks were thrown in the evening at a car that was driven by Ruth Shapira, a mother of five, between Maaleh Shomron and El-Matan in Samaria. The firebomb smashed to bits on the car's hood but no one was hurt.

Shapira told Channel 2 News that it was “a miracle” she was not hurt but lamented: “It is clear to me that the people who tried to murder me tonight will not pay the price.”

A rock was thrown at the Light Rail in Jerusalem's Shuafat neighborhood. Light damage was caused to the passenger car. No one was hurt. A 16-year-old Arab was arrested after a short chase.

At Kafr Kana, riots continued throughout the day and about 30 people were arrested. In Taibeh, too, there was rioting, and the main road there, Highway 444, was blocked. Two youths were arrested.

In Jerusalem, two people were lightly hurt from rocks. A man, aged 36, was lightly hurt when his car was pelted with rocks near Neveh Yaakov junction. At Beit Hanina, rocks were thrown at a car that had two Jews inside it. One was lightly hurt in the arm. At A-Tur, youths hurled firebombs at police.

At Ilut and Tur'an in the northbrush fires were put out, and the firefighters suspect they were set by arsonists.

Meanwhile in Umm el-Fahm, four suspects were arrested after rocks were thrown at cars on Highway 65.

At the Hemed interchange on Highway 1 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, rocks were thrown at two buses. No one was hurt and there was no damage. 

The latest wave of riots began early Saturday after police shot dead a 22-year-old in Kfar Kana near the northern city of Nazareth. Hir Hamdan was killed after he attacked police with a knife as they tried to arrest a relative who was suspected of throwing a stun grenade.