Aharonovich: Arab MKs Incited Rahat Violence

After rioting in Bedouin town left a man dead and over 20 injured, Public Security Minister points finger at Islamists, MKs.

Gil Ronen,

Yohanan Danino and Yitzhak Aharonovich
Yohanan Danino and Yitzhak Aharonovich
Miriam Alster/Flash90

Minister of Public Security, Yitzhak Aharonovich, held a special situation assessment meeting at the Rahat police station Wednesday, following a week of rioting in the southern Bedouin town that has left one man and over 20 injured.

"We must not exercise restraint in response to the events in which police were attacked,” he said.

"We will not allow a situation in which policemen doing their jobs are attacked by a raging mob that threatens their lives.”

"Behind this mob are the members of the Islamic Movement under Ra'ed Salah, along with the Arab Knesset Members, who incite and agitate, in order to deliberately harm the delicate fabric of life, and to stain an entire populace, most of which is law abiding,” he charged.

Last Wednesday, police entered Rahat in search of drug dealers and fatally shot a suspect, Sami al-Ja’ar. Subsequently, riots broke out in the city. Another resident, Sami al-Zayadna, died of a heart attack on Sunday as officers tried to use tear gas to fend off the rioters, and an estimated 22 people were injured, among them the mayor.

A protest procession held Tuesday night for the two residents killed during police activity in recent days spiraled out of control, as an explosive was hurled at police forces trying to disperse hundreds of Arab rioters adjacent to the town's police station.

The rioters launched a fusillade of rocks and firebombs targeting the officers in addition to the explosive. Four minors were arrested on suspicion of throwing rocks; one of them was wounded by the rocks they were throwing and required medical aid, after which he was brought in for investigation as well.