Olmert seeks calm after Pekiin

Ehud Olmert moved to mend Jewish-Druse ties in Israel after this week’s Pekiin riots.

The Israeli prime minister held special consultations late Wednesday with the mayor of Pekiin, a predominantly Druse village in the Galilee, as well as with a top leader of the minority Arab sect.

Around 40 people were injured Tuesday when police tried to arrest suspected vandals in Pekiin and came under assault from local youths. The violence drew calls from some Israeli Druse to abandon their community’s traditional loyalty to the Jewish state.

“The prime minister expressed his hope that the event would not mar the covenant between Jews and the Druse and promised that the government would continue with its plan to reduce gaps regarding the Druse community, especially in regard to education and discharged young Druse soldiers,” Olmert’s office said in a statement.

It added that Olmert called on Druse, Muslims, Christians and Jews “to restore the mixed community to the path of tranquility and development”.

But the prime minister also said Israeli authorities would not be lenient toward anyone who attacks police personnel.

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