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Student dormitories at Israel's Netanya College have been shut after clashes reportedly broke out between Jewish and Arab students on Saturday night, with a large crowd filmed chanting “Death to Arabs” outside the residential building.
Netanya Mayor Mariam Freiberg ordered the dormitories to close “for students' safety” on Sunday morning after large crowds attempted to break into the dormitory building in central Israel.
Activists said 30 Palestinian students were locked in their rooms as crowds were filmed attempting to break down security barriers, while others could be heard chanting “Death to Arabs.”
“They heard that there were Arabs there and simply came to raid the place,” said Alon-Lee Green, co-director of the Standing Together movement, a joint Arab-Jewish partnership which has been vocal in its opposition to the war in Gaza, despite many of its members suffering personal loss in the Hamas attack on October 7.
Local residents allege Arab students disrupted a prayer service at a Chabad synagogue adjoining the campus, throwing eggs at worshippers and playing loud music.
“It has been brought to our notice that this morning two eggs were thrown at worshippers who came out of the synagogue next to the student dormitories,” Netanya College said on Sunday morning.
“The police were immediately called to the scene and handled the situation.”
“Fervent calls” for protest were spread on social media, the college added, but said police have investigated and denied claims of students flying Palestinian flags and playing loud music.
“We are in the midst of difficult and complex days,” the college said, adding that any student “who expresses explicit or implicit support for terrorism or enemies of Israel … or violence or hatred against innocent residents” will be immediately suspended.
Several students were killed in the Hamas attacks on southern Israel, including at the Nova music festival where 260 people were shot by the militants.
The National approached Netanya College for further comment but received no immediate response.
Palestinian citizens of Israel have said they are afraid to speak out on the current war for fear of dismissal or suspension from their jobs and universities.
Arab employees of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, have told The National they are contemplating emigrating as surveillance of Arab sympathies to the plight of Gazans comes under increased scrutiny.
Israeli Health Minister Uriel Busso has said the ministry will act with “zero tolerance” against perceived supporters of “terrorism” after a senior doctor at Hasharon hospital was fired over a Facebook post.
Dr Abed Samara, head of the hospital's cardiology department was dismissed after the hospital received complaints about his social media activity.
Mr Busso said the physician posted a photo of the Hamas flag and wrote in support of the militant group.
Mr Samara has refuted the claims.
“To clarify, the picture with the caption, 'There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet,' is not related to the difficult times we are going through now, it is a picture from two years ago and does not mean that I support terrorist acts,” local media quoted the doctor as saying.
“I am a Muslim and this is the first commandment of Islam. Everyone who knows me knows well: I have not supported, do not support and will not support acts of terrorism or anything that leads to the deprivation of innocent lives.”
More than 100 people have been arrested for “inciting violence terrorism” since the war began, according to Israel's Attorney General.
Most are Palestinian citizens of Israel.