Speed Reads

crisis in Israel

Arab politician warns Israel is 'on the brink of a civil war'

With violent clashes between Jews and Arabs taking place in cities across Israel, there are fears that if the fighting continues to escalate, war is inevitable.

"We're on the brink of a civil war," Esawi Frej, an Arab member of parliament with the Meretz party, tweeted. "Hamas missiles are the least of our problems for a country in which Jewish and Arab rioters take to the street to lynch civilians."

Since Monday, Israel has been conducting airstrikes in Gaza, leveling Hamas buildings and killing members of the militant group, plus dozens of civilians. In return, Hamas has been firing thousands of rockets into Israel, with some reaching Tel Aviv. Seven Israelis have been killed. On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has rejected Hamas' requests for a ceasefire, and he expects the military campaign to continue for at least another seven days.

There have been several vicious attacks in the mixed Arab-Jewish town of Lod, including stabbings of several Jews and shootings of Arabs, Haaretz reports. A curfew is in place from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. to keep residents inside their homes and non-residents out of the city. In the Tel Aviv suburb Bat Yam, right-wing Israelis smashed windows at Arab-owned businesses, and several extremists pulled a man who appeared to be Arab from his car, beating him and leaving him bloody on the ground. Police said an investigation has been opened, and "we will get to each and every one of the attackers who participated in this horrifying lynching."