Intense Arab riots broke out in the Israeli city of Lod late on Tuesday, with at least three synagogues and a multitude of shops and cars being reportedly set on fire. The Israeli government declared a state of emergency in the city, and dispatched multiple companies of Border Police to help deal with the situation.
Mayor of Lod, Yair Revivo, told Channel 12 that City Hall and a local museum were attacked as well, and compared the situation to the Nazis’ 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom.
"Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu directed that lawbreakers be dealt with severely and that units on the ground be reinforced in order to restore quiet and order to the city forthwith," a statement from the government said. After Revivo appealed directly to Netanyahu for immediate help, a state of emergency was declared in Lod for the first time in decades, and a large group of Israeli Border Police were sent to quell the riots and restore order to the city.
National Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said, "We are seeing a situation in the mixed [Jewish-Arab] cities that we have never seen before, including the incidents of October 2000. 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," Revivo said on Channel 12. "This is Kristallnacht in Lod… 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…"
President Reuven Rivlin urged Arab Israeli leaders earlier on Tuesday to condemn the violence and riots of the previous night. "I just made an urgent phone call to Mudar Younes, chair of the Arab Councils Mayors Committee, and passed on a sharp message about the Arab violence that went wild in the streets of some mixed cities last night, including Lod, Ramle and the cities of the Triangle," Rivlin said in social media statement.
Channel 12 also showed footage of Jewish residents of Lod throwing rocks at cars owned by Arab residents, though local resident Shiloh Fried said these incidents were minor ones compared to the large scale of the Arab rioting. Jewish eyewitnesses said that an incident involving the death of an Arab resident amid the violence was out of self-defense.
Across the country, other attacks were reported. Jewish homes in Ramle were destroyed or set ablaze, and cars were also stoned. In the city of Acre, a restaurant and a hotel were set on fire. In Umm al-Fahm roads were blocked. There were confrontations reported late at night in Jaffa, where a car was overturned and set on fire, and some minor fights reportedly occurred in Tel Aviv’s Habimah Square.