Israeli Arabs hold nationwide strike

Israeli Arab protesters hold torches and posters of Sami al-Jaar, who was shot dead by police officers last week, during a protest in the southern town of Rahat.

Israeli Arab protesters hold torches and posters of Sami al-Jaar, who was shot dead by police officers last week, during a protest in the southern town of Rahat. | Photo: Reuters

Protests are centered around the Israeli Bedouin town of Rahat, where a man was gunned down last week during a police raid.

teleSUR (Jan. 21) – Ethnic Arabs closed their businesses and workers refused to show up to work across Israel Tuesday, as part of a nationwide strike protesting the recent deaths of two Bedouin men.

Israeli Arab politician Taleb Sana said the strike was a sign of mounting frustration among Israel’s Arab population.

“The general strike today is to send a strong message that the entire Arab community… strongly protests the murders of two citizens of the state of Israel whose only crime is being Arab,” he told Israeli media, according to AFP.

Around 20 percent of Israelis are ethnic Arabs – many of which have been infuriated by the shooting death of Sami Jaar last week. Jaar was killed amid an anti-narcotics raid in the Bedouin town of Rahat. Local Bedouin officials have accused Israeli police of gunning Jaar down in a “cold blooded murder.”

Amid the strike, a senior official from the justice ministry told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper there is “tangible suspicion” that police acted illegally during the raid, though an investigation is ongoing.

In Rahat, hundreds of Bedouin took to the streets to protest Jaar’s killing, along with the death of Sami Zayadna. Zayadna died of a heart attack during clashes at Jaar’s funeral on Sunday, held in Rahat.

Since the funeral, Rahat has been in a state of near-permanent protest. At least five people were reportedly arrested in the town on Tuesday on suspicion of throwing stones. Rahat police claim their headquarters has been pelted with rocks, while some demonstrators have burned tires in the streets.

More Israel news:

Israeli Soldier Gives Palestinian Woman Water then Shoots Her

Israeli Airstrike Kills Iranian General

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