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Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Anti-Arab riots spark Israeli soulsearching
Israeli troops on patrol in Nazareth
Nazareth - scene of the worst Jewish riots
The rioting by Israel's Arab population, and attacks on them by rioting Jews have prompted soul-searching questions in some of Israel's newspapers..

The rioting by Jews is denounced in an editorial in Wednesday's edition of the liberal daily newspaper Ha'aretz.

This year's "Yom Kippur will be infamous for the violent, racist outburst by Jews against Arabs within Israel," it begins, noting that two Arabs were killed in Nazareth when 200 young Jews rioted there.

The editorial continues its strong line: "The frustration and rage of the Arab citizens of Israel who blocked roads and intersections and threw stones at innocent people does not justify these attacks, which were accompanied by chilling cries of: Death to the Arabs."

Gil Hoffman writing in the Jerusalem Post says such rioting by Israeli Jews is a new phenomenon.

He quotes Sam Lehman-Wilzig, Political Communications Professor at Bar-Ilan University, who says that traditionally rioting has been alien to Jewish political society.

"The numbers (of riots) are so low because of our Jewish political culture which encourages protesting, but seriously discourages violent protest," Professor Lehman-Wilzig says.

But he argues that has changed as Jews feel threated by the "pressure cooker syndrome" of fighting not just the Palestinians and Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas, but now also their own Arab population.

Yoav Karny, writing on the front page of the business daily Israel's Business Arena, expresses horror at the idea of Israel abandoning the peace process.

Mr Karny argues that ten years ago Israel could get away with sending its soldiers and tanks into the Arab market of the West Bank town of Nablus.

To do so again now, he argues, would bring Israel closer to the status of Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic.

The difference now, argues Mr Karny, is the presence of 24-hour global television news.

"The sound of the first shell fired from the first tank against the first house in the first Palestinian city will reverberate across the entire world. The State of Israel's legitimacy is liable to come crashing down along with the walls and roofs, " he argues.

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