Exclusive interview
'This is Ramle, Arabs here don't hate Jews'

Two 13-year-old terrorists' stabbing spree was to 'kill Jews,' but mayor insists Arabs are 'loyal,' saying 'this isn't eastern Jerusalem.'

Benny Tocker,

Site of Ramle attack
Site of Ramle attack
Magen David Adom spokesperson

Ramle Mayor Yoel Lavi spoke to Arutz Sheva on Friday, a day after two 13-year-old female Arab Israeli terrorists conducted a stabbing attack at the city's mall adjacent to central station.

In the attack the two Arab citizens stabbed and lightly wounded a security guard. One later admitted to police: "we came to kill Jews."

But Lavi was convinced that the attack by the young girls did not indicate any problems for the mixed Jewish and Arab city that is located in the coastal region near Tel Aviv.

"We were surprised, we're kind of in shock, although life has already gone back to normal," said Lavi. "Relations are very good between the (Arab) sector and us. These are families that are integrated in the society, who live in Jawarish, a neighborhood in Ramle."

"They are Israeli citizens who are within the Israeli society, we have no problems of loyalty, they are good people," insisted the mayor, who ran with the leftist Kadima party in the 2009 elections and opposed joining Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government.

Lavi called on the public not to be deterred by the attack and to come shop at the Ramle market, saying, "you'll see tons of Arabs and Jews shopping at the joint market."

The mayor said that Arab schools in the city are under the supervision of the Education Ministry, and added, "it isn't eastern Jerusalem here, they are Israeli Arabs."

"It could be that here and there they act in a way that doesn't exactly match your or my viewpoint when it comes to Memorial Day or Independence Day," he added, noting the common displays of hostility seen among Arab citizens on the holidays. "But at the same time the schools are supervised by the education system, we visit the Arab schools, they all are under supervision."

"They sit with us on the study material, they are integrated and studied about in the schools. And I can tell you with a certainty that in the mosques and schools in the city there is no education to hate Jews, there is no education to harm the state of Israel, this isn't eastern Jerusalem."

Despite Lavi's protestations, Ramle has a long history of tension. Massive Arab riots were seen in the city last October in support of the current Arab terror wave as it began to gain steam. Back in 2013 a Jewish protest against growing vandalism, verbal harassment and a firebomb attack by Arab residents was interrupted by yet more Arab violence.

Rabbi Aryeh Handler, dean of the Ramle Hesder Yeshiva, told Arutz Sheva last July that the Arab residents are acting like "occupiers," after students caught on film the Arab rock and firebomb attacks the yeshiva suffers on a weekly basis.

Regarding the question of sentiments among Israel's Arab citizenry, a poll last November found 57% of Israeli Arabs feel the radical Islamic Movement in Israel that is funded by Hamas represents them faithfully. Likewise 18.2% of Arab Muslim citizens of Israel said they do not consider Islamic State (ISIS) to be a radical terrorist organization, and that they are not ashamed of the brutal jihadist group.




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