Hamas, the terrorist group funded by Iran in Gaza, fired more than 40 rockets into Israel earlier this week, while Tik Tok videos sparked several nights of unrest and clashes between Palestinians and Jewish extremist youths in Jerusalem.
Flare-ups are not uncommon during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but Tik Tok videos of both Jews and Arabs being attacked seemed to have fanned the tensions into flame. Jerusalem police say there have been nightly disturbances with Arabs since Ramadan began. Late last week, Lehava, a small but vocal Jewish supremacist group, marched in the streets outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate to show “national honor,” chanting “death to Arabs” and “Arabs get out” supposedly in response to several Tik Tok videos showing random violence by Arabs against religious Jews.
Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman said that this year’s tensions are different. “Unfortunately, with no connection to Ramadan, hundreds of young people are working for one goal—to create riots and clash with the police.”
One Arab man interviewed on Israel’s Channel 12 said, “We are hoping for an intifada.”
While Israeli authorities are calling for calm in Jerusalem, Hamas is encouraging the nightly violence to continue, even as they ramp up assault efforts on Israel from Gaza. The Iron Dome has intercepted several rockets, and so far, Israelis have only suffered minor injuries as a result of the scramble to get to safety.
On Monday, Israel’s security cabinet authorized the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to respond powerfully and be “ready for every scenario” with Gaza. Israel has conducted counter strikes using fighter jets and tank fire and has closed Gaza’s vital fishing zone in the Mediterranean. The hope is that the economic impact will pressure Hamas to stand down.