Picture: (AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand)
The country marked Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement — the most sacred observance in the Jewish calendar.
The Haaretz newpaper reported today that cars and stores were damaged as Jews and Arabs clashed in the Israeli city of Acre after an Arab man was assaulted for driving during Yom Kippur.
The unrest erupted around midnight, several hours after Jews began marking Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest observance in the Jewish calender, when Israel comes to a virtual standstill.
A group of Jewish youths assaulted an Arab man who was driving his car, in an incident that touched off large-scale rioting between Jews and Arabs, resulting in extensive damage to dozens of cars and shops.
Police used force to disperse the crowd of several hundred peoples, the newspaper said, citing police officials.
About one third of Acre’s population of almost 50,000 residents is Arab.
Arab MPs have for years asked security forces to take tougher action to prevent Jews from stoning cars driven by Arabs on Yom Kippur.
One of them, Abbas Zkoor, said such attacks occurred frequently.
Zkoor said "Despite numerous complaints filed in police stations, officers were not sent to disperse the racist gatherings".
He called on religious authorities to condemn such behaviour, which he said "surely contravenes the basic principles of the Jewish religion."
Israel came to a virtual standstill as the country marked Yom Kippur, which started at sunset on Wednesday and was to end this evening.
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