Two Israeli soldiers, four others arrested for anti-Arab attacks

Six Israelis, including two soldiers, have been arrested for racist attacks against Arabs with knives and other weapons and charged with “terrorist” offenses, authorities said Sunday.

The suspects are accused of having used knives, clubs and bars to carry out at least five separate anti-Arab attacks and acts of vandalism against cars belonging to Arabs, police said in a statement.

Police did not provide details on whether the attacks resulted in serious injuries or how many people were targeted. They were charged in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.

The accused were allegedly motivated by “nationalist and racist” beliefs, including seeking to prevent Jewish women from having relationships with Arab men.

According to police, they were influenced by a video from the Jewish extreme right group Lehava, which opposes inter-marriage.

In August 2014, Lehava activists staged a rally where racist slogans, including “Death to Arabs!,” were shouted at the wedding near Tel Aviv of a Muslim man and Jewish woman.

The group’s leader, Benzi Gopstein, was questioned by police in 2015 after he condoned torching churches in Israel, in accordance with a mediaeval Jewish commandment to destroy places of idol-worship.

Arabs account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s eight million population.