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A torched synagogue in Lod. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration's public and private comments on the inter-communal violence between Jews and Arabs in Israel have irked Israeli officials.

What they're saying: One Israeli official lamenting the U.S. intervention asked me: "Would Israel dare to weigh in on the George Floyd killing?"

The big picture: The crisis in Jerusalem and the escalation in Gaza led to the worst inter-communal violence Israel has seen since the start of the Second Intifada in 2000, though it has died down in recent days.

  • The violence has been worst in mixed cities with significant Jewish and Arab populations. Arabs have attacked Jews and burned synagogues, while Jews have violently targeted Arabs.

President Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken have raised the violence in all of their recent calls with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

  • They also made their concerns public in official readouts. The White House said Biden had raised "grave concerns" about the violence with Netanyahu and “encouraged continued steps to hold violent extremists accountable."
  • Between the lines: Previous administrations have refrained from touching this particular hot potato. But the scenes from Israeli cities — in particular the viral images of an Arab man allegedly being lynched by a Jewish mob — have resonated in the U.S. and likely drove the Biden administration to respond, one senior Democrat told me.

The state of play: Israeli authorities have been accused of coming down much harder on Arabs than on Jews.

  • Most of the 1,200 arrests and all 120 indictments submitted to date have been against Arabs.

Zoom in: Some of the worst violence has taken place in Lod, near Tel Aviv, where one Jew and one Arab have been killed during widespread riots.

  • After the local police chief said Tuesday in a meeting with Jewish and Arab residents that there had been “terrorists on both sides," he was criticized by the man who appointed him just a few months ago.
  • Public Security Minister Amir Ohana claimed there was "no symmetry” because Arabs had carried out most of the attacks.

What to watch: The umbrella organization of the Arab minority in Israel announced the biggest general strike in 20 years on Tuesday, with many Arab citizens of Israel staying home from work at Jewish-owned businesses and even hospitals.

The bottom line: It will take a long time to repair the damage to Arab-Israeli coexistence inside Israel.

Go deeper

Aug 25, 2021 - World

U.S. has options if Iran talks fail, officials say ahead of Israeli PM's visit

Biden in the Oval Office. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty

If diplomacy fails, the U.S. will consider using other means to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, senior Biden administration officials said in a briefing ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's visit to the White House.

Why it matters: Iran is the main agenda item for Bennett's visit, and he is expected to push for a "Plan B" now that nuclear talks have stalled. The U.S. officials didn't say what exactly the administration would consider but are clearly trying to reassure the Israelis that they are willing to pressure Iran.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children are among a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, per a statement from Christian Aid Ministries Sunday.

The latest: "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children," the Ohio-based group said. Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne on Sunday identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.

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