An Arab mob of several thousand - including young men on horseback and others waving PLO flags - surrounded and threatened about 150 Jews from Haifa who went
A few of the Jewish young men, with Israeli flags in hand, charged the gathering Arab mob.
to a public forest to celebrate Israeli Independence Day. A Jewish young man was lightly injured in the ensuing clash.
On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the group of Haifa families made their way to the Megiddo Forest, in the north of the country, a group of Arab youths on horseback accosted the Jewish celebrants, jeered and threatened them. As the young Arab men continued their menacing behavior, they called more Arab youths to join them. Some of the new arrivals were waving flags of the PLO terrorist organization.
"Within a short time, there were hundreds of Arabs surrounding us," one of the Jewish celebrants said. "We felt threatened. We are here with little children and they are threatening us. We called the police. They promised they would handle it and send a patrol car, but the car never arrived. We called the police again and again, but the help never arrived."
At this stage of the incident, a few of the Jewish young men, with Israeli flags in hand, charged the gathering Arab mob. Within moments, a fight broke out, during which one of the Jewish youths suffered a light injury to the face. The Arabs, still threatening the Jewish families, called for more of their comrades to join them.
Within forty minutes of the start of the incident, 6,000 Arabs waving PLO flags and making menacing threats had gathered around the group of Jews in Megiddo Forest. It was only at this point that a border guard patrol jeep showed up on the scene, with just six soldiers.
Speaking from the forest at about 3:40 pm, one member of the Jewish group described
"It is sad that this is the picture in the center of the country on Independence Day."
the outcome of the day's events: "The border guards are handling [the group of Arabs] and trying to block them. They are a few dozen meters from us. We are folding up to go. They are staying here. We can't stay here when we have so many little children with us. ...It is sad that this is the picture in the center of the country on the Independence Day of the State of Israel."
It appears the Jewish celebrants had unknowingly chosen to hold their Independence Day picnic near the site of the central event held by Israeli Arabs to mark 'Nakba Day' - 'the day of the catastrophe' - as they call Israel's independence. Several thousand Arabs had come to attend the event, and heard speeches from several Arab Knesset Members, bemoaning Israel's 1948 War of Independence. Interestingly, the Arab leadership appears to be marking its 'alternative' day based on the Jewish calendar.
In response to an Arutz-7 query, the regional police department said that they were aware of the incident; however, "both sides promised they would press charges with the police, but neither side did. Therefore, the matter was not handled [by the police]."
In August of 1999, Megiddo Forest, a planned fir forest located adjacent to Kibbutz Megiddo and the Arab-Israeli city of Umm El-Fahm, was the scene of a terrorist ambush and double murder. Two young hikers from Haifa, Yechiel Finfeter and Sharon Steinmetz, were murdered there by an Israeli Arab carrying out what was called "a nationalistic crime of opportunity.