Peres Plays Down Islamist Violence in Jaffa

Ancient Israeli port city is 'a showcase' for Jewish-Arab coexistence, Peres says, blaming 'very extreme' Islamic Movement for riots.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Israeli police restore order in Jaffa after Arab riots
Israeli police restore order in Jaffa after Arab riots
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres addressed yesterday's Arab riots in the city of Jaffa, saying the incident was an anomaly in an otherwise peaceful city, which he hailed as a model of Jewish-Arab coexistence.

Speaking at the Peres Center for Peace shortly after meeting Jewish-American reggae star Matisyahu - who will be playing at a mega-concert in Jerusalem Saturday night - Peres described Jaffa as "a showcase of Jews... and Arabs coexisting daily and generally... to keep peace, to live in peace, to respect each other.

The former president blamed Tuesday's violence - which resulted in several injuries to police forces - on the Northern Branch of the Israeli Islamic Movement, a radical Hamas-linked organization which he described as "a very extreme group" that tries "to bring blood everywhere."

They tried yesterday and they failed. This morning Jaffa awoke again as a city where people live together, whether they are Jewish or Arabs."