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‘Stop this madness’: Israeli president warns of civil war | The New Daily

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Israel’s president has warned of a civil war between the country’s Arabs and Jews as fury and fear over shelling exchanges with Palestinian militants in Gaza ignited violence in Israel’s streets.

Appeals by religious and political leaders for calm, and police reinforcements and mass-arrests, appeared to do little to stem riots in several ethnically mixed towns.

Israeli TV showed what it described as “near-lynchings” of Jewish and Arab motorists.

The strife was touched off by sometimes violent pro-Palestinian protests by members of the Arab minority incensed at an Israeli air barrage launched on Gaza on Monday after Islamist Hamas-led militants fired salvoes of rockets across the border.

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A synagogue and cars were torched in the Tel Aviv suburb of Lod, motorists were stoned on some roads, and Palestinian flag-waving protesters scuffled with police in northern Haifa port.

By Wednesday, police said the assaults appeared to be more by Jews against Arabs, including one seen on live TV as he was dragged from his car and pummelled by a mob in coastal Bat Yam.

The broadcast on the top-rated Channel 12 cut to a phoned-in appeal by President Reuven Rivlin to “please stop this madness”.

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“We are endangered by rockets that are being launched at our citizens and streets, and we are busying ourselves with a senseless civil war among ourselves,” said the president, whose role is largely ceremonial.

-AAP

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