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A rabbi inside a torched religious school in Lod. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty

The crisis in Jerusalem and Gaza is fueling hostility and fear between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel.

Why it matters: This week has seen the worst inter-communal violence in Israel since the start of the Second Intifada in 2000.

The state of play: Demonstrations organized by Israeli Arabs to show solidarity with the Palestinians set to be evicted from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem — and in response to the raid by Israeli security forces on Monday at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem — escalated into riots in cities and towns across Israel on Monday.

  • The most violent riots came in mixed cities where Jews and Arabs live together.

Driving the news: The most serious incident took place in the city of Lod near Tel Aviv, where an Arab Israeli citizen was shot dead by a Jewish Israeli, who was later arrested by the police.

  • That led to widespread riots in the city. Synagogues and cars were set on fire, and several Jewish residents were attacked. The government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday night and sent in border patrol forces to restore order.
  • Riots also took place in the historic city of Acre where cars, restaurants and hotels owned by Jews were torched.
  • In the city of Ramla, radical right-wing Jews attacked Arabs and set a Muslim cemetery on fire.

Worth noting: The riots took place at a time when Arab political parties have the most influence over Israeli politics since the founding of the country, and after what was seen as a renaissance in Jewish-Arab relations during the COVID-19 crisis.

What to watch: Many in Israel's Arab minority hope that the celebrations of Eid al-Fitr starting on Thursday to mark the end of Ramadan will help cool down the situation.

Go deeper

Aug 18, 2021 - World

Scoop: CIA director raised China concerns with Israeli prime minister

The U.S. has raised concerns about Chinese investment in the Port of Haifa project. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty

While visiting Israel last week, CIA director Bill Burns told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett the U.S. was concerned about Chinese investments in Israel, particularly in the tech sector, and involvement in major infrastructure projects, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: That's the highest level at which the Biden administration has raised an issue that previously became a rare point of contention between the Trump and Netanyahu governments.

Aug 18, 2021 - World

Dispute with Poland on Holocaust shows Israel's shift on EU relations

Netanyahu (R) in 2019 with Polish President Andrzej Duda (C) and then-Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

The diplomatic crisis over a Polish law limiting the ability to introduce claims to property confiscated during World War II is a manifestation of the shift in Israeli policy toward Europe under the new government.

Why it matters: The bill will mostly impact Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and it's seen by the Israeli government and the Biden administration as another step by Poland's government to rewrite the country's history around the Holocaust.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker