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Staying Strong in Lod, Israel

May 13, 2021 | by Adam Ross

A resident of Lod speaks to about the violence that has raged throughout the city.

“Lod is a battlefield now,” Yoel Frankenborg says, looking out of his window in disbelief at the chaos unfolding below. “They are roaming the streets, literally outside our building on the streets below.”

“We haven’t slept in our house the last few nights. Although I could take my family to where my parents live out of the city, this is our home, and we don’t want to leave it.”

Arab rioters have set the streets of Lod ablaze

During a third night of terror on the streets of Lod, a city that has both Jewish and Arab populations, one of the city’s Jewish residents detailed his family’s experiences as Arab rioters continue to wreak havoc and the shatter Lod’s spirit of peaceful coexistence.

“I have lived in Lod for 12 years,” Yoel, 34, a freelance event organizer tells me. His business here has been shuttered for the last few days. “We came to live here after we were married because it was a beautiful place and a good place to live.” Yoel and his wife, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University, have raised their five children in the city aged 13 to one and a half. “It all changed a few days ago, when thousands of Arab rioters took to the streets, with mobs burning cars, ransacking and destroying properties.”

Yoel Frankenborg with one of his five children. “We are trying to stay strong. Lod is our home.”

Arab riots have spilled onto the streets of Israeli cities such as Lod, a home to Israeli Jews and Arabs, which has one of the most diverse populations in the country. Other cities such as Akko, Haifa and Jaffa where Jews and Arabs also live side by side have also been affected, with police struggling to control the situation. The violence, from gunfire, Molotov cocktails and stone-throwing has left dozens wounded including several police officers.

A burnt out car from the previous night’s violence.

As the sound of firecrackers and gunfire reverberated through the streets, Yoel continued, “My wife and I are doing our best to calm our children, we hug them, tell them the police is doing their best to look after them, and together we strengthen our faith. We believe in God, and know that, as it has always been for the Jewish People, after dark times there will be light.”

“Things are difficult though,” he says. “They have burned synagogues and Jewish schools here.” Israeli media covered shocking images of Torah scrolls ripped and burned in one attack in the city a few days ago. “When we saw, what was happening, we removed the Torah scroll from our synagogue. It’s now in the home of one of our members.”

A curfew has been declared, yet the unrest continues. “I have Arab friends in the neighborhood. They say most of the Arabs in Lod are against the violence but they won’t say anything publicly for fear of reprisals.

"I have heard from friends who live outside of Israel that this is being reported as tit-for-tat violence, but I want Jews around the world to know, it is not true. All violence is wrong, but we are under attack.

“This is the same story that has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. The hatred we are feeling is being directed at us because we are Jews. We want to live in peace.”

Amid the riots and violence, Yoel says the care and support shown by the Jewish people for his family and community has pierced the darkness. “It has been incredibly heartwarming. We have had so many calls, and have been brought us so much food.” His voice cracking through emotion. “Friends from outside the city have come to stay with us just so we feel safer, and complete strangers have offered us their homes to stay in. It has been incredible to feel that support and that embrace.”

We pray that all violence stops and for peace to reign.

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