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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

May 11, 2021 - World

Explosions in Tel Aviv and Gaza as Israeli-Palestinian crisis escalates

Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepts a rocket fired from Gaza over southern Israel. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty

Tel Aviv — The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups fired dozens of rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Tel Aviv and other cities in central Israel on Tuesday night, a new step in the current conflict that is likely to be followed by increased Israeli air strikes in Gaza.

Why it matters: The current crisis began in Jerusalem but has evolved into a military conflict across Israel and Gaza that remains on a path of escalation.

Updated May 12, 2021 - World

Gaza crisis: Casualties pile up with no signs of ceasefire from Israel, Hamas

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip leave their neighborhood on Wednesday following an explosion. Photo: li Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is dispatching a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts.

The latest: The Israeli air force attacked a meeting of senior Hamas military leaders on Wednesday in Gaza and reported it had killed the Gaza City Brigade commander and the heads of Hamas’ cyber arm and weapons research and development department, along with at least three other senior officials.

Updated May 14, 2021 - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.