Street and mob violence has broken out in Israel between Jews and Arab citizens.
As Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza, and Palestinian militants there fired rockets into Israel, the country witnessed some of its worst communal violence in years.
In the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, a mob dragged a man they believed to be an Arab from his car and kicked and punched him, with graphic footage of the incident broadcast live on TV by Israel’s Channel 11.
An Israeli police officer inspects the car of an Israeli Arab man attacked and injured by a mob in Bat Yam. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images
With police not at the scene, the footage shows the man lying unconscious in the road, before the camera pans away.
Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital said the man is in a stable but serious condition.
Also in Bat Yam, Israelis wearing mostly black smashed the windows of an ice cream parlour owned by an Arab family.
According to the Jerusalem Post, 374 people were arrested during unrest across the country on Wednesday. “The acts were organised by provocateurs who came from outside the city. This is not our way,” said Bat Yam mayor Tzvika Brot.
The communal violence follows severe unrest after Israeli police stormed al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, disputes over Palestinian elections and the pending outcome of a legal battle by Israeli settlers to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem.
It has led to Israeli airstrikes against the Gaza Strip and rockets fired by Palestinian militants into Israel. Health officials in Gaza say 83 people have been killed, including 17 children. The death-toll in Israel is seven.
A ball of fire engulfs a building in the Gaza Strip destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on Thursday morning. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
The violence is the biggest escalation since the 2014 Gaza War, the last time Israel staged a ground incursion of the blockaded coastal enclave.
It also comes at an uncertain time for Israel politically. Benjamin Netanyahu is still Prime Minister, but opposition leader Yair Lapid has been tasked with forming a government after inconclusive elections were held in March, the fourth elections in two years.