Rioting broke out in Lod in central Israel on Tuesday evening with the Arab mobs targeting synagogues as rockets from Gaza fell around them. Several shops and at least three synagogues were set ablaze as the government declared a state of emergency in the city, deploying IDF Border Patrol soldiers to return order. Some residents reported that rioters had cut the power to their apartments and firebombs were thrown through their windows. A 56-year-old man was wounded when a rock slab was thrown through the window of his car.
Taking matters into their own hands
Meir Amsterdam, a resident of Ramat Eshkol in Lod, posted an image on Facebook of a group of young men from Yitzhar, a small community in Samaria. Whether the reputation is earned or not, residents of Yitzhar are frequently accused by the “anti-settler” media of dealing with Arab violence with reciprocal stern measures, taking matters into their own hands.
לא האמנתי שאני יצייץ את זה- עכשיו ברמת אשכול לוד חבורה של יצהרניקים עם אלות וכו- וזה הדבר שהכי מרגיע פה את התושבים. #מאורעותתשפא pic.twitter.com/ooNDoNo4wt
— Meir Amsterdam מאיר אמסטרדם (@meir_ams) May 11, 2021
In the Facebook photo, the Yitzhar youth are seen on the streets of Lod with sticks in their hands. Amsterdam noted in his Facebook post that “this is something I never thought I would tweet… but this is what is calming the residents here.”
As the Arabs realize that there is pushback
One of the Yitzhar residents wrote about their experience on social media saying: “I just got back from Lod. After the Jews were being assaulted all day, some of us decided to go and do what the police won’t do. And I realized how they do nothing.
We were about 30-strong, within a second, Arabs started gathering and throw stones. Within a second and a half, they realized that the stones were being thrown back at them and they fled.
This story repeated itself on every street. As soon as the Arabs realize that there is pushback, they just flee back into their buildings like mice. We patrolled for 3 hours. In that time, we saved two vehicles that Arabs began to burn but they ran away when they saw us. And an additional synagogue that they tried to torch.
But what was really strange was how the police stood there and were simply afraid to leave their stations. Believe it or not, we escorted police cars in the streets because they were scared. They actually waited next to their posts and only began driving when we were escorting them. The only thing the cops could do was throw stun grenades which don’t even scare the Arabs anymore.The police just stood there and embraced the boys with sticks saying they wish they could destroy the Arabs. It’s just bizarre that 30 boys are doing what hundreds of police can not do.
A synagogue is burning in Lod
— Gabriel Hébert-Røuillier (@Gab_H_R) May 11, 2021
Comparing the riots to Kristallnacht
Arab mobs attacked the city hall and the mayor, Yair Revivo, compared the riots to Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), the night-long pogrom against Jews carried out throughout Germany by Nazi supporters forces and civilians in November 1938.
“This is Kristallnacht in Lod,” Revivo said on Channel 12. “I have called on the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in Lod. To call in the IDF. To impose a curfew. To restore quiet… There is a failure of governance… This is a giant incident — an intifada of Arab Israelis. All the work we have done here for years [on coexistence] has gone down the drain.”
Synagogues were especially targeted in Kristallnacht with some 267 being burned. One video graphically emphasized the comparison as residents removed Torah scrolls from a synagogue that was gutted by fire.
לוד: ערבים שרפו את התלמוד תורה ואת המכינה הקדם צבאית. שוטרים מוציאים את ספרי התורה. דו קיום… pic.twitter.com/BxVh3olTFX
— Yarin Shimoni (@yarinshimoni9) May 10, 2021
“All of Israel should know, this is a complete loss of control,” Revivo added, sounding desperate. “This is unthinkable. Synagogues are being burned. Hundreds of cars set alight. Hundreds of Arab thugs are roaming the streets… Civil war has erupted in Lod… The Orthodox-nationalist community here has guns. I’m imploring them to go back home but they understandably want to protect their homes. Molotov cocktails are being thrown into [Jewish] homes. The situation is incendiary.”
The city of Lod has an Arab population of 30%, leading the mayor to lament that “Civil War has broken out.”
National Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai noted that similar events had taken place in 2000 at the start of the second intifada but that the current riots were on an entirely new scale.
“We are seeing a situation in the mixed [Jewish-Arab] cities that we have never seen before, including the incidents of October 2000,” Shabtai said.
The city Lod is mentioned several times in the Bible (Chronicles 8:12; Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 7:37; 11:35) and in the New Testament as Lydda. In Muslim eschatology, the antichrist (Dajjal) will be slain in Lod before the Day of Judgment.
בושה של ממשלה!
פורעים ערבים מעלים באש את העיר לוד ועדיין לא הכניסו כוחות צבא לתוככי העיר. אין מילים לתבוסתנות ולחולשת המנהיגים. pic.twitter.com/7pnpbZAaFy
— יוסי אליטוב Yossi Elituv (@yoelituv) May 11, 2021