Jerusalem restaurant owners claim that members of the radical right group Lehava — the Hebrew acronym for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land — are threatening them with violence if they employ Arabs. In addition to making threats, Lehava activists have also carried out a series of violent attacks in Jerusalem against Arab laborers, taxi drivers and passersby. The attacks began soon after three Israeli youths were kidnapped and murdered by Palestinians in the West Bank in June 2014, and according to city restaurateurs, there has been a dramatic rise in such incidents since then. They claim that dozens of Lehava thugs go “Arab hunting,” especially on Thursdays, when yeshiva students begin their break for Sabbath, and on Saturday evenings, when they head back to their seminaries.
“It has become routine,” the owner of one of Jerusalem’s better known restaurants told Al-Monitor, requesting anonymity. “Each one of us restaurant owners knows that Thursdays and Saturday nights are terrible days on which we declare an emergency alert.”