חוזרים ללוד

Around 30 Jewish families from the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood in the city of Lod returned home on Tuesday, after spending several days in a school building in nearby Petah Tikva.

The families were evacuated from their homes amidst extreme violence that took hold of the streets of Lod, where Arabs live in close proximity to Jews, in some places even in the same apartment buildings. The evacuation was organized by the neighborhood’s “core community” members, which noted that, “We took care of veteran residents of the neighborhood, helping them to evacuate, arranging places for them to stay, and providing them with transportation.”

The organization added that “while we are happy that they are now returning home, the danger is not over. We are all extremely concerned about what might happen in the coming days, and hope very much that the calm we have seen over the last day will prevail.”

The statement added that, “It is important to stress that the calm will not last unless Israel Police confiscates all the weapons in Lod. We are demanding that the police commence an operation to confiscate all illegal weapons from Lod, so that we can return to our normal daily routines and live here with our families in peace and security.”

In order to combat the sectarian violence in Lod, police imposed a nighttime curfew starting at eight o’clock in the evening, with a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment for breaking it. Border Police forces were sent to the city, with deputy inspector Eli Levi telling Channel 11 that, “From this moment … zero tolerance. Police are in the streets. The city of Lod is in the full control” of police forces.

Police initially attempted to deny that any Jewish families had been removed from the city. “Families were not evacuated,” Central District police commander Moshe Bareket told media, claiming that police had merely escorted residents to their homes, when they were afraid to walk the streets.

Meanwhile, the government has authorized the extension of the civil state of emergency in Lod for another 48 hours. It was originally imposed on May 12th, by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, following the recommendation of Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana.