Hamas sympathizers are believed to be responsible for burning down a bicycle shop in Tayibe, an Arab city in central Israel, this weekend after its owner donated 50 bicycles to survivors of Hamas assaults on communities near the Gaza Strip.
News of the donation spread after Yoseph Haddad, a prominent Arab-Israeli activist, praised the gift on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“A moment of exciting Israeli partnership: Alaa, an Israeli Arab with a bicycle business in Tayibe decided to donate 50 pairs of bicycles to the residents of the south who came to the community of Tzur Yitzhak. Thank you, Alaa, you are the Israeli spirit at its best!” Haddad tweeted on Thursday.
But Haddad’s tweet sparked criticism in Tayibe, a city of 45,000 located in an area south of Haifa known as the Arab Triangle for its concentration of Arab communities. The shop was burned down sometime on Friday night or Saturday.
Police are investigating.
The Tazpit Press Service did not publish the full name of the store owner because of threats against his life.
Haddad followed up on Saturday with tweets to his 131,000 followers denouncing the attack and adding that Alaa was okay.
“Israeli Arabs with their sane voice have a strong desire to be an integral part of the civil effort and help the residents of the south. This is exactly what the extreme minority in our society are afraid of, the Israeli partnership. Their only way to regain control is to control us with fear and terror and that is exactly what they did yesterday, burning the bicycle shop,” he tweeted.
Since the war in southern Israel began nine days ago, police have arrested at least four Tayibe residents for social media posts glorifying terrorists and inciting terrorism.
One of the four suspects is a 23-year-old kindergarten teacher, a police statement said.