Residents of Tuba-Zangarriye, a Bedouin village in the Galilee, deliberated on Tuesday whether they should accept funds from the Israeli government or from Islamic groups to rebuild a mosque vandalized and burned by Jewish right-wing extremists on Monday.
After Sheik Kamal Khatib, deputy head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, offered donations from the Muslim community to pay for mosque repairs, village residents debated their next step. "You must not accept the Zionist government's proposal to fix the destroyed mosque," said Khatib. "We will make sure to obtain funds from Arab countries and Muslim organizations to cover the repairs," he said.
"Although some support Khatib, the majority of Bedouin leaders and notables are not interested in getting funding from Arab countries or Muslim organizations," a Bedouin elder told Israel Hayom. Tuba-Zangarriye has historically been a Bedouin village within Israel's Green Line that maintains friendly relations with the Jews. The elder explained that the Bedouin community wished to maintain the covenant between the Bedouins and Israel, and that the Islamic Movement seeks to use the situation for political gain.
Get the Israel Hayom newsletter sent to your mailbox!
"Our sons serve in the IDF and despite the mosque burning, there is still a strong bond between the Bedouin people and Israel. With respect to the declarations of the Islamic Movement in Israel, we will sort out how to finance the repairs and prefer that funding come from the government and not foreign bodies. Bedouins have never been a high priority for the Islamic Movement, Arab countries or foreign Muslim organizations," the elder said.
Meanwhile, the head of Tuba-Zangarriye's regional council, Brig. Gen. Tzvika Fogel (ret.) announced on Tuesday that he will ask the interior minister to be relieved of his position. Fogel said that other council members had excluded him from conversations about what to do about the mosque and that he had received threats to his life.
"It was clear that after the mosque and the regional council building [burned down by angry village residents in retaliation for the mosque], the next target would be Tzvika Fogel. On the eve of Yom Kippur two years ago, two bursts from an M-16 rifle were fired at my office in the council building, and it was a miracle I wasn't killed. I believe this is likely to happen again and have decided to leave my post," said Fogel.
As violence continues to simmer in the wake of the mosque attack, Israel Police remain on high alert. Patrols have been stepped up in especially sensitive areas with mixed Arab and Jewish populations, including Carmiel, Safed, Acre and other communities.
Masked youth from Tuba-Zangarriye clashed with police Monday night, throwing stones and reportedly also firing into the air above police officers' heads. Residents also burned down municipal buildings in their village, including a community center and a clinic. A regional council building was also badly damaged.
"I understand the youths' anger, but it doesn't justify taking the law in your own hands," one resident said.
"We told them that what they did only serves to harm us, though the burning of the regional council building was a reaction to police barricading us in our village and firing rubber bullets and tear gas when youths wanted to protest near route 90," said Iman Fouad Zangriyee, imam of the burned mosque.
Police have arrested at least four men between the ages 19 to 28 in connection with the mosque burning. Tuba-Zangarriye is a Bedouin village of some 6,000 residents, many of whom serve in the IDF and perform national service.
Like our newsletter? 'Like' our Facebook page!