Israeli Jews and Arabs staged joint rallies across multiple cities in Israel on Friday demanding an end to the recent spate of inter-ethnic violence between their communities.
One of the rallies, dubbed ‘Jews and Arabs – Refusing to Be Enemies’, took place in a square in Eilat, southern Israel, with protesters carrying signs reading “Stop,” “We are Hope” and “Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself.”
Protester in Eilat for peace and Jewish-Arab coexistence. Signs say “stop”, “we are hope” and “love thy neighbour as thyself”. pic.twitter.com/qDSpRqUu7N— Nitzan Waisberg 🏴 (@NitzanWaisberg) May 14, 2021
Another event took place in Jaffa outside Tel Aviv, with dozens of people, mostly women, gathering near the town’s clock tower with anti-war signs and chanting “No More War” in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
No more war!— Nitzan Waisberg 🏴 (@NitzanWaisberg) May 14, 2021
Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies!
Pro-peace and coexistence protest in Jaffa. pic.twitter.com/6moJRItOpo
More protests took place elsewhere, including the Hefer Valley in central Israel, where demonstrators blocked off traffic.
Arabs and Jews from neighbouring Arab and Jewish communities protesting for peace and coexistence in Emek Hefer with signs saying “love thy neighbor as thyself”. pic.twitter.com/fhY16yq4ox— Nitzan Waisberg 🏴 (@NitzanWaisberg) May 14, 2021
Friday’s protests followed a spate of joint Jewish-Arab demonstrations across nearly three dozen locations on Thursday, with hospital workers and schoolteachers staging coordinated rallies in several cities, and local peace activists also staging protests at major traffic junctions in the central and northern Israel.
Jewish and Arab health professionals unite in solidarity: Medical staff at hospitals in Israel call for peaceful coexistence and cooperation between Jews and Arabs against the backdrop of growing conflict. https://t.co/6CRzLhm1LJ ISRAELITY pic.twitter.com/R1Z3yEJLO1— Jewish Community (@JComm_NewsFeeds) May 14, 2021
סלאם עוד יבוא שלום עלינו ועל כולם.سلام * עשרות אנשי צוות, ערבים ויהודים פצחו בשירת שיר של שלום, בהתכנסות שהתקיימה במרכז הרפואי העמק בעפולה pic.twitter.com/Y6UuHO2DPt— sami abdulhamid سامي عبد الحميد (@samiaah10) May 13, 2021
Hundreds of Jews and Arabs gathered in protests in Jerusalem and its neighboring towns against the violence, the occupation, and to call for an immediate ceasefire. pic.twitter.com/8qqd0GsjMI— Fadi Elsalameen فادي السلامين (@Elsalameen) May 13, 2021
Yesterday, near Jerusalem, Arab and Jew residents of the neiboring villages demonstrate against the violence that sweeps Israel. We have lived together and will continue to respect each other. Let's keep the sanity! pic.twitter.com/f6BxflLrbV— Tal Burstyn-Cohen Lab (TBCLab) (@tbclab) May 14, 2021
אבו גוש/מבשרת,הפגנה משותפת יהודים/ערבים👇 pic.twitter.com/tAMZr3OhFS— Real News IL (@RealNewsIL) May 13, 2021
The peace demonstrations come after days of escalating violence this week between Jewish and Arab-Israeli communities, with rock attacks, fire bombings, shootings, arson and street altercations reported in cities across the country from Monday onward. The tensions have been exacerbated by Gaza militants’ launch of hundreds of rockets into Israel, and the Israeli military’s campaign of air and missile strikes into the besieged territory.
This week's violence came after nearly a month of escalating tensions in Jerusalem over Israeli authorities’ 12 April decision to put up barriers around Al-Aqsa Mosque – one of the holiest sites of Islam, ahead of the Ramadan holiday, while leaving access to Jewish holy sites unobstructed. The decision caused weeks of street protests, with tensions ramped up further ahead of the Israeli Supreme Court’s expected ruling to evict Palestinian families from their homes in an east Jerusalem neighbourhood and be replaced by Jews.