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Minister admits officials were ‘very surprised’ by Arab Israeli violence in May

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Rioting by Arab Israelis in May that led to deadly ethnic violence between Jews and Arabs took authorities by surprise and was fueled, in part, by organized crime families that are crossing the line between criminal and nationalist crime, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev said Sunday.

May saw massive riots break out in many so-called mixed Israeli cities, home to large numbers of both Arabs and Jews, during an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Though not unprecedented, the internecine violence was some of the worst in Israel’s history, bringing to the surface long-simmering conflicts between Arab and Jewish Israelis.

The outbreak of violence by the Arab population “very much surprised the country, we weren’t prepared for that,” Barlev told a conference on anti-terror policy hosted at the Reichman University in Herzliya (until recently known as IDC Herzliya).

However, he applauded the police response to the violence, in which at least two people were killed and hundreds injured. For days, Jewish and Arab mobs had attacked people and property in communities across the........

© The Times of Israel

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