About 1,000 demonstrators protested anti-Arab racism and violence in a rally on Wednesday in the aftermath of the murder of three kidnapped Israeli teens.
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The rally took place at a square in central Jerusalem where three Palestinian youths were attacked by a Jewish mob the night before, and was attended by, among others, Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog (Labor), MK Nitzan Horovitz (Meretz) and Rabbi Benny Lau.
"Jews and Arabs will have to live in this land forever and that's why we have to repel together any attempt to harm our fragile relationship," Herzog said. "The extremists on both sides are trying to drag us all into a circle of blood, but most of the Jewish and Arab societies disagree and want to live in peace."
On Tuesday night, hundreds of right-wing extremists took to the streets of Jerusalem, shouting racist slogans and calling for revenge against Arabs. In once case, a mob of 100 Jews attacked three Palestinians, one of whom was evacuated to a hospital for a head wound. Undercover police who were there quickly intervened, moved the attackers back and arrested three of them.Overall, police arrested 50 Jews for involvement in the riots.
Wednesday morning, the body of a Palestinian boy was found in a forest outside Jerusalem, and though police are still investigating, concerns were raised that the boy was murdered as an act of revenge for the three kidnapped Israelis.
In Wednesday's rally, Rabbi Lao addressed the murder and said: "I would like to learn the name of the murdered Arab, the same way we memorized the names Eyal, Gilad, Naftali and their mothers'. A Jew doesn't avenge. That isn't our language. We're educated to restrain power. Our whole DNA is like that. We're all so proud of it – and then suddenly you find yourself awash in racism and violence."
The rally came against the background of calls for attacks on Palestinians made by tens of thousands of Israelis in a new Facebook group, opened after the three teens' bodies were found. The online group has since been condemned by various Israeli politicians, including Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who promised to prosecute those involved.