Police have increased their level of readiness across the country, in particular around “areas of tension” between Arabs and Jews, in the wake of the murder of three Israeli teenagers and also the murder of an Arab teen in Jerusalem suspected to be a nationalist crime carried out by Jews.
Police said Wednesday that they have stepped up police patrols in districts across the country, with a particular focus on Jerusalem, but also the northern district, home to large Arab cities such as Nazareth.
That said, Coastal District Police said that they have not beefed up their patrols much more than usual, and that they don’t expect a repeat of the days of rioting between Arabs and Jews that took place in Acre beginning on Yom Kippur in October 2008. Tel Aviv Police also said that they have not taken any special measures in the Jaffa-Bat Yam area, which has been the site of violent clashes in the past.
A few hours after the murder of the Arab teen was reported, Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said that police will not allow civilians to take the law into their own hands and that the public “must practice restraint in these days of tension and violence.”
The volatile potential of the crime – which has still not been proven to be nationalist – was evident in statements police made to the press on Wednesday.
In a message to crime reporters on Wednesday morning, Israel Police spokesman Rafi Yafeh said the circumstances of the murder are still unclear and asked reporters “to show responsibility and wait for an official statement from the Jerusalem Police.”
The plea for calm and patience was also repeated about two hours later by Danino’s spokeswoman Sigal Toledo, who asked reporters not to make initial assessments about the investigation and instead to wait for the official police findings in the case.
By mid-afternoon on Wednesday there had already been a string of “price-tag” nationalist crimes reported, including anti-Arab graffiti found sprayed on the wall of a restaurant in Ashkelon, and on a wall in a Palestinian village in the West Bank. In addition, a monument to a Jewish terror victim was vandalized in the West Bank.