Israel’s Arab population hope ongoing bombardment in Gaza ends quickly

Arabs living in Israel find themselves stuck in the middle of the latest round of bombardment between Israel and Hamas. The Arab population there has strong feelings about the ongoing bombardment. Although they are citizens of Israel, Arab residents of Jaffa like Ibrahim Shindi, say many of them have relatives in the Palestinian territories, including Gaza. "This affects the residents of Jaffa, since each one has relatives in Gaza. I have relatives in Gaza. And this thing is painful," said Ibrahim Shindi, an Arab resident of Jaffa. Since the Israeli aerial operation started last Wednesday, Hamas officials said the death toll in Gaza has climbed to 130. On the other hand, some media reports show that over 1,350 rockets have been launched to Israel over the past week. Jamal Shakra, is an Arab-Israeli born and raised in Jaffa. Shakra manages Jaffa's Abulafia bakery, a famous establishment with a history of about 130 years. The bakery caters to Arabs, Jews and, of course, tourists. "The rocket may fall on us, it doesn't differentiate between this and that. It may fall on my house, on my kids, or anyone from the family. No one can escape from it," said Shakra. Around one-fifth of the population of Israel is Arab-Israelis, or Palestinian citizens of Israel. They also have a small number of elected representatives in the Israeli parliament. And this week, at least two of those attended a memorial for Gaza's dead, prompting a fierce response from some in the Jewish majority. "In my opinion, they shouldn't even be in the parliament at all. If they are speaking out against the State of Israel, how can they be in the parliament," said Eli Kalimi, a Jewish resident of Jaffa. When it comes to this latest wave of bombardment, most Arab-Israelis in Jaffa are just hoping it will end quickly. The recent attacks effectively pitted the Arabs in Israel against their fellow Palestinians in Gaza, especially when they live in a country where many often question their loyalty, despite their numbers and their contributions.

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