Israeli Arabs Make Up 90% of Indictments Over May 2021 Riots

Of the 616 indictments issued during last year's nationwide wave of violence in Israel's mixed Jewish-Arab cities, 545 were against Arabs

Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit
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Israeli forces arrest a Lod resident during the riots, last year.
Israeli forces arrest a Lod resident during the riots, last year.Credit: Moti Milrod
Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit

Over 600 people have been indicted for offenses allegedly committed during the May 2021 riots in Israel, and nearly 90 percent of those indicted are Arab, statistics from the State Prosecutor's Office published on Tuesday showed.

In May 2021, a nationwide wave of violence occurred in Israel, particularly in mixed Jewish-Arab cities, throughout the fighting between Israel and Gaza in "Operation Guardian of the Walls."

Of the 616 indictments issued, 545 were against Arabs accused of rioting, acts of terror and violence, while 71 were against Jews; minors were indicted in 162 cases; in the Jerusalem district, 131 indictments were issued; in the Haifa district, 79; and in the southern district, 70.

Of the indictments, 161 were issued against minors. In the Jerusalem district, 131 indictments were issued, in the Haifa district, 79, and in the southern district, 70. The charges include attempted murder, aggravated vandalism, arson, endangering human life on the road, weapons offenses, assaulting police officers and disturbing the peace, as well as rioting, obstructing the police and other crimes.

Riots in Bat Yam, a city south of Tel Aviv, last year.

In some cases, a racial motive was attached to charges of violence and destruction of property. According to the prosecution, the attribution of a racial motive in such charges carries double the sentence for that charge, or 10 years in prison, whichever is less. A racial motive can only be attributed to offenses carrying a penalty of less than 10 years in prison.

In the most serious cases, it was decided to apply the anti-terror law in prosecuting the suspects. These cases include lynching attacks, firing at police or civilians, damaging infrastructure or essential services and throwing Molotov cocktails at police or civilians. Conviction on charges applying the anti-terror law also doubles the sentence for the same charge, not to exceed 25 years. The anti-terror law can also be invoked in cases carrying a mandatory prison sentence and more severe punishment for suspects of conspiracy and accessories to an offense, as well as those suspected of a mass act of terror.

So far, in 80 cases that have been completed, suspects were sentenced to prison time. In some cases, the prosecution appealed lighter sentences issued by a lower court to the Supreme Court, which increased the penalty.

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