Arab riots in Jerusalem (file)
Arab riots in Jerusalem (file)Flash90

Many of the recent attacks by Arabs against police and civilians in Jerusalem unrest have included firecrackers, which are legal for use in Israel. In order to prevent the attacks, the Public Security Ministry is investigating the possibility of limiting or banning altogether the import of firecrackers – to the chagrin of companies that do the importing.

On Wednesday, several of the companies in the business wrote to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich asking him not to allow ban firecrackers, saying they stood to lose a great deal of money. Yaron Mor, head of the Israel Firecracker Importers Association wrote in a letter to Aharonovich said that the unrest in Jerusalem had engendered a sense of public panic, and the media and politicians were looking for a scapegoat – in the form of firecrackers.

There have been numerous articles in the Israeli media in recent days highlighting how Arab rioters have been using firecrackers to attack officers in Shuafat and other areas. The Arabs wrap up the firecrackers in a cloth or small jug and throw it at officers. Several officers have been injured in these attacks.

Mor said that the firecrackers members of his organization imported were all legal, and were used in entertainment and industry. “All the procedures for importing are done legally, and the firecrackers are sold only to those who have licenses or authorizations to use them.” If there were no firecrackers, Arabs would find other items to abuse and use against Israelis. “There is no need to close the gates of the country to firecrackers,” he said.

Concurring was Uriel Lynn, head of the Tel Aviv Merchants' Association. “We should not ban firecrackers because of public security issues. That would be the easy and populistic way to fight this problem - but it would be wrong,” he said, as it would unfairly punish businesspeople who had done nothing wrong.