Four Arrested for Clashes at 'Illegal' Protest

Arab demonstrations featuring anti-Semitic slurs and graffiti becoming growing and troubling phenomenon in Ilaniya, resident says.

Cynthia Blank,

Arab protesters on Temple Mount
Arab protesters on Temple Mount
Flash 90

Four people were arrested by police on Saturday in clashes between Arab demonstrators and Jewish residents of the Ilaniya moshav in the Lower Galilee. 

Disputes and riots broke out between dozens of Israeli Arabs - who wanted to hold a memorial ceremony for Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali - and Ilaniya residents who argued the event was being held illegally. 

Al-Ali, born in the Al-Shajara village close to Ilaniya, was assassinated in London in 1987. He is best known for the character Handala, a child viewed as a symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance. 

According to Ilaniya resident Paz Efroni the demonstration was outright illegal. 

"At 4:30 p.m. 150 people arrived, built a tomb, erected signs and held an illegal event," Efroni told Walla! News. "About 40 residents of the moshav arrived and stood opposite. There were arguments, but no physical altercations between the two sides."

Efroni said such demonstrations are common in Ilaniya and that the "phenomenon is really becoming a nuisance. We have no problem if people come to visit here, but when they prepare mass events, it's really disturbing." 

"In 1948, the residents of Al-Shajara fled, but in recent years, all sorts of organizations are trying to influence our community with their claims," Efroni noted. 

"Some events are even accompanied by catcalls against Jews, graffiti and attempts to lower the Israeli flag hanging [in the village]."