Israeli Arab leader Mansour Abbas visits synagogue torched in Lod

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Israeli Arab leader Mansour Abbas visits synagogue torched in Lod

The central Israeli town saw several days of rioting and clashes between Arab and Jewish residents

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Mansour Abbas visited the synagogue with Lod's mayor, Yair Revivo (Photo: Facebook)
Mansour Abbas visited the synagogue with Lod's mayor, Yair Revivo (Photo: Facebook)

One of Israel’s most senior Arab politicians visited a synagogue torched by rioters in Lod last week in a show of solidarity with its congregants.

Mansour Abbas, the leader of the United Arab List, said he wanted to demonstrate that “Islam is not like that and real Muslims are not like that”.

He said the visit to the Dosa Synagogue — during which he did not don a kippah — was a spontaneous one on the invitation of the central Israeli town’s mayor, Yair Revivo.

Several synagogues were set ablaze by Arab mobs during several days of rioting in Lod, which also saw Jewish extremists hurl rocks at Arab Israelis.

One Arab resident was shot and killed by a Jewish Israeli in contested circumstances.

The UAL leader drew criticism from some supporters for meeting Revivo, a onetime Likud election chief who once hailed the arrival of new religious Jews in Lod as having “saved” it from becoming an Arab city.

But Abbas said: “And for those who attack me, saying that I met a settler, I say that I met him in his official capacity as the mayor of Lod.  I met him because he represents the other side in the dispute,.”

In a post on his Facebook account Revivo described Abbas’s visit as an act of bravery and added: “we must encourage more voices who condemn violence and choose a shared life without finding any expression of his past.”

Abbas had been leading negotiations on potentially joining an Israeli governing coalition with the centrist Yair Lapid and right-wing Naftali Bennett prior to the upsurge in sectarian violence and conflict in Gaza.

The talks have been frozen, but not yet been formally called off.

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