Israel Police Preparing for Unrest in Mixed Arab-Jewish Cities Amid Gaza Operation

The threat level has been raised and mixed Arab-Jewish cities have recruited reinforcements in light of last year's riots, even though Israel Police don't anticipate riots to reemerge

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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A police car that was set on fire during the riots in the central mixed city of Lod, in 2021.
A police car that was set on fire during the riots in the central mixed city of Lod, in 2021.Credit: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Israel's police are bracing for the possibility of riots and unrest in mixed Arab-Jewish cities amid a new military operation in the Gaza Strip, despite claims from several senior officials that there is no intelligence indicating that disturbances will take place.

The police have raised the alert level to B, the second-highest level, and have put ten Border Police reserve companies on standby to handle unrest within Israel's borders. On Friday evening, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev ordered the calling up of ten companies from the Border Police Reserves.

Police stations in the mixed cities of Lod, Acre, Jaffa and Haifa have made new recruitments in light of the riots that took place during the conflict between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip in 2021.

Currently, the police are concentrating their efforts on preparing for long-range missile strikes on cities in the south and center of Israel.

In contrast to the previous conflict in Gaza, many officials claim that police stations in the mixed cities are now outfitted with riot-control tools, something that was not done in the early days of the previous round.

Senior Israeli security officials currently assess that Hamas won't join the campaign as they "can only lose." They believe that the recent rise in the number of Gazans allowed to work in Israel in recent months and a halt to exports from Gaza to the West Bank are levers that can be used to apply pressure on Hamas.

"It all depends on Islamic Jihad's response," said a police official. "Right now, we are preparing for the worst case scenario."

Israel Police also believe that Arab citizens of Israel are less likely to participate in the clashes because the current round of tension is not related to the Al-Aqsa compound, unlike in 2021.

However, authorities still plan to permit Jews to ascend the Temple Mount on Sunday to observe the Tisha B'Av fast.

The Jerusalem District will hold a new assessment of the situation tomorrow in light of the developments in the Gaza Strip. According to current evaluations, the police and the Shin Bet security service have no information about intentions to violate the order on Sunday on the part of either Jews or Arabs.

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