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Ultra-nationalist Jews allowed to hold protest

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Ultra-nationalist Jews allowed to hold protest
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Israeli police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse Arab demonstrators, as they tried to head off potential clashes with ultra-nationalist Jews in an Arab-Israeli town. Ten Arabs were arrested.

About 30 Jewish demonstrators, who had travelled from Jerusalem, held a brief rally in the town before they were escorted away in buses.

Their protest followed a court decision allowing the march in Umm el-Fahm, which lies just inside Israel’s boundary with the occupied West Bank.

The town is home to an Islamic movement whose leader claims that Israel endangers Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Jewish protesters want the movement outlawed.

Baruch Marzel, a Jewish settler leader in the West Bank, was one of the organisers of the march.

“We’re coming to protest in the city of Umm el-Fahm, that’s in the heart of Israel, and we have there a cancer of the Islamic movement that wants to destroy the state of Israel and join Hezbollah and Hamas with their efforts to destroy Israel from the inside,” he said.

Dozens were wounded in serious clashes 18 months ago, when Jewish ultra-nationalists held a similar march in an Israeli-Arab city.

They have been commemorating the 20th anniversary of the assassination of a Jewish far-right politician in New York. Rabbi Meir Kahane had been banned from the Israeli parliament after calling for Palestinians to be expelled.