Mulitple Israeli highways have closed down today as major public protests erupted among the nation’s Arab minority, and police attempts to crack down on them led to major clashes.
Israeli officials reported large numbers of arrests, but exactly how many was unclear, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “restore calm” with security forces, and protesters blocked traffic with burning tires.
The Israeli Arab protests centered around the killing of a Palestinian teen last week, and the savage beating of his cousin, a US citizen, by police over the weekend. Smaller protests of right-wingers were held in Jerusalem, chanting “racist slogans” and demanding government revenge against the Arabs.
By nightfall the clashes, which began in the southern Negev, had spread across the nation, with clashes reported in the far north, and Israeli police vowing a “zero-tolerance policy” toward the demonstrators, who they dubbed “rioters.”