Imam Mohammed Ayash was arrested on terror-related charges on Wednesday morning, police revealed. Ayash is a preacher and cleric at the Al-Bahar Mosque of Yafo.
The details of his alleged offenses are being kept under wraps due to the sensitive nature of the investigation. A Petach Tikva court has extended Ayash’s remand for eight days.
His arrest comes shortly after the indictment of Nazareth-based imam Nazzam Abu-Salim for incitement to terrorism and murder. Salim was arrested in connection to a local terrorist cell that murdered a Jewish cab driver and violently assaulted and stabbed Jews and Christians.
Some Arab residents of Yafo, working with far-left Israeli groups, have focused on the mixed city as rightfully Arab, and have attempted to torpedo Jewish housing projects in the area. Such attempts have failed, and a contested religious-Zionist housing project recently got its final go-ahead.
PA media has added fuel to the fire, claiming that Yafo – along with Haifa, Akko, and Jerusalem – is rightfully part of “Palestine.” In one segment filmed during Ramadan, the hosts of a PA program gave out cash prizes to PA Arabs who listed Yafo as a “city in Palestine.”
However, many Jews living in Yafo say that day-to-day life is marked by coexistence and goodwill between Jews and Arabs, despite extremists’ efforts to upset the situation.