Upper Nazareth
Upper Nazareth Flash90

Residents of the mostly Jewish community of Upper Nazareth on Sunday circulated a petition demanding that the government build a bypass road that will allow them to avoid driving near Kafr Kana, which has become a hotspot of Arab violence. The Arab town has been a center of unrest all weekend after 22-year-old resident Hir Alhamdan was shot and killed by police Friday after he lunged at a police car and repeatedly made stabbing motions toward the car's window.

Riots ensued after the shooting, and continued throughout the weekend, with rioting breaking out in other areas as well. Rioters burned tires and threw rocks at Jewish drivers, and police closed Route 754 several times over the weekend.

That route is also the shortest route connecting Upper Nazareth with major thoroughfares in the region – and over the weekend, many residents said they stayed shuttered in their homes out of fear that they would be targeted if they drove out of town. As a result, hundreds of residents signed a petition Sunday demanding that the government built a new road that will take them directly to the Golani Junction, from where they would be able to continue on to the center of the country or to Haifa, where many residents work.

The petition was organized by the mayor of Upper Nazareth, Alex Goldkin, who said that even residents of Kafr Kana support construction of the road – which will lessen traffic on Router 754 - but that the government has taken no action, despite the fact that the idea was first proposed years ago.

The Golani Junction recently underwent a major renovation, but according to Goldkin, “what is the point of spending millions there if there is no access road to the biggest city in the Galilee, Upper Nazareth?”