Mob 'lynching of Palestinian’ aired live on Israeli TV
Footage of a far-right Israeli mob attacking a man near Tel Aviv they believed to be a Palestinian was aired live on television Wednesday night, as the Israel-Palestinian conflict raged on.
The shocking images show a man being forcibly removed from his car and beaten by a crowd of dozens until he lost consciousness.
The attack, broadcast by Israeli public broadcaster Kan, took place on the seafront promenade of Bat Yam, south of Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv.
Police and emergency services did not arrive on the scene until 15 minutes later, while the victim lay motionless on his back in the middle of the street.
Those in the crowd justified the attack by saying the man was an Arab who had tried to ram the far-right nationalists, but the footage shows a motorist trying to avoid the demonstration.
"The victim of the lynching is seriously injured but stable," Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital said in a statement, without revealing his identity.
Israel's chief rabbi Yitzhak Yossef called for an end to attacks by Jews.
"Innocent citizens are being attacked by terrorist organisations, the heart is heavy and the images difficult, but we cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into provocations and aggressions," he said.
Issawi Fredj, an Arab deputy from the left-wing Meretz party, said the images were a sign that the country was heading towards "civil war".
Far-right extremists launched attacks on Palestinian-Israelis in several cities in Israel on Wednesday night, vandalizing Palestinian-owned shops in Jaffa and attacking the Al-Nour Mosque in the central city of Lod, where one-third of the population is Palestinian.
Palestinian-Israeli lawyer Khaled Al-Zabaraqa, who was in the mosque at the time, told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that the extremists shot at worshippers inside.
“A group of settlers fired on the main mosque in Lod while we were praying inside. But thank God, the young men [in the mosque] went out and expelled them after fighting with them,” he said.
Israeli police said they were also responding to violent incidents in Acre and Haifa.
Scores of people have been killed, mostly in the Gaza Strip, and hundreds more injured in the worst escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in years.
The fighting began after Israel tried to forcibly expel Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem and Israeli security forces injured hundreds of worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Hamas launched rockets at Israel after issuing an ultimatum warning Israeli forces to withdraw from the mosque. An estimated 1,500 rockets have landed in Israel since then while Israeli forces have hit the Gaza Strip with deadly airstrikes which have killed at least 65 people, including 16 children.
In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "what has been happening in the last few days in the cities of Israel is unacceptable".
"Nothing justifies the lynching of Arabs by Jews and nothing justifies the lynching of Jews by Arabs."
He said that he was looking into sending the Israeli military into cities to restore order.