Arab protest in Haifa University
Arab protest in Haifa UniversityIm Tirtzu

Arab students at Haifa University stood for a moment of silence Tuesday in memory of the “martyrs” (“shaheeds”) killed and injured in the riots in the southern Bedouin city of Rahat by what they call the “racist regime.”

Last week, Israeli police entered Rahat in search of drug dealers and fatally shot 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.

In addition to the moment of silence, Arab students groups at Haifa University planned two demonstrations to protest police brutality.

Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, said: “It’s ridiculous that over the years radical Arab activists come to the university with the goal of taking advantage of the campus and turning it into an anti-democratic and anti-Israel political hotbed. Arab university students today hardly register for classes. All they do is spend their days looking for provocations against Israel because it promotes their position in the village.

"We are speaking here of an academic institution, not the private home of MK Hanin Zoabi,” he noted.

A protest procession held Tuesday night for the two residents killed during police activity in recent days spiralled 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.