Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Report: Racist Attacks Against Arabs in Israel Increase Tenfold in 2008; Gaza War Seen as "Chief Agitator"

Ynetnews/com, March 24, 2009 - The year 2008 saw a sharp rise in racist incidents against Arabs in Israel, the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel reported Saturday, estimating the increase at tenfold those recorded in 2007....

"What we are witnessing is a moral collapse, and it's time to shout out against racism," said Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center. "The data is especially worrying in regards to civilian violence, and definitely attests (to the fact that) a Knesset member's extremist message permeates and leads to the involvement of more and more citizens."

A total of 32 violent incidents were recorded in Jerusalem alone in 2008, most of them occurring during soccer matches. Twenty-two such incidents were recorded in Akko. Tel Aviv, in third place, witnessed 13 racist incidents according to the center.

The Mossawa Center's report states that "if not for the elections and the war in Gaza, we would be witnessing a sharp decline in data from the soccer field", thereby relating most of the racist incidents occurring in 2008 to Israel's offensive in Gaza, which began in late December of that year.

"These attacks are not the hand of fate, but a direct result of incitement against the Arab citizens of this country by religious, public, and elected officials," the report says.....

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