Arabs in Haifa threw a rock that hit a Jewish youth in the head Saturday, and tension between Jews and Arabs in the northern port city has been growing, according to Rabbi Shmuel Sasson, who heads the Torah nucleus group in the city.
The boy, whose parents are members of the Torah nucleus group, was about to leave his home and head for evening prayers in the synagogue at the end of the Sabbath, when he saw two Arabs speaking secretively near the entrance to his home.
He walked past them and sped up his pace, but then felt a sharp blow to his head, from the rock they had thrown.
"He ran to the synagogue, where he checked to see what had happened to him, and called his father, who ran outside and tried to chase after the Arab youths," the rabbi told Arutz Sheva. "He ran after them into the grocery store."
Inside the store, the father confronted the youths, and said he would call the police. They responded with threatening gestures, and before police arrived, they had run off.
Rabbi Sasson said police responses to Arab crimes sometimes tend to be "somewhat sleepy," and cited an incident in which an Israeli flag was burned. In another incident, Arabs threatened the local Jewish congregation and spilled garbage near the synagogue. In that case, police responded with alacrity, he said.
"We hope they won't start raising their heads too high," the rabbi said of the local Muslim Arab population. "This is the feeling and atmosphere throughout the country. A feeling of uncertainty. Let's hope we remain on the quiet part of the scale. We don't want a big noise but we are concerned that falling asleep will create a certain perception with the Arab youths and they will reach extreme cases as well."
In the past, he said, students from the local Muslim school hurled rocks at a "kollel" where graduates of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva study. There have also been cases of sexual abuse by Arabs, he said. As a result, he said, parents are much more aware of where their children are at any given moment, and the result can be seen in a positive light, because it creates more tightly knit families.