On Sunday, an Israeli court charged two Israelis, a border officer and his friend, with firing live rounds at Palestinian-Israeli citizens last weekend in the town of Safed, while shouting ‘death to Arabs’, ‘stinking Muslims’ and ‘a Jew has a soul and an Arab is a son-of-a-bitch’.The two were part of a mob of around 30 young Jewish Israelis who assaulted several Palestinian-Israelis in the city center last weekend. The attack came in the midst of increasing rhetoric by local Rabbis against the Palestinian-Israelis, and a movement in the city to forbid Palestinian-Israelis from studying at a college in the town.
A number of landlords have formed an organization that refuses to rent to Palestinian-Israelis, and city officials, including the mayor, have publicly proclaimed that Safed should be an ‘Arab-free zone’. These statements came after Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu said that Jews in Safed should stop renting to Arabs, in an effort to clear the area of Arab students.
In the incident last weekend, about thirty Jewish youth gathered in a park and held a rally against Arabs. They then marched to a building known to house some Palestinian-Israeli students, where they threw rocks and bottles toward the windows. After a bottle smashed through a window where some students were studying, a student threw a shoe out the window toward the crowd.
That was allegedly when 20-year old Border Control Officer (off-duty at the time) Abraham Elmakis handed his officially-issued rifle to his friend, 20-year old Raziel Rubenstein. Rubenstein then shot live rounds toward the building, causing the students inside to panic, and the crowd gathered outside to scatter.
None of the other participants in the mob attack have been charged with any crimes, though the identity of many of the perpetrators is known to local police.