A mob of ultranationalist Israelis have attacked a man they thought was an Arab, dragging him from his car and beating him unconscious, as communal violence rages across Israel.
Footage of the attack in Bat Yam, a Tel Aviv suburb, on Wednesday night shows the driver trying to manoeuvre the vehicle to flee the scene but colliding into two other vehicles.
He is then pulled from the vehicle and beaten. Live TV footage from the scene showed the driver lying motionless on the ground.
Dr Eyal Hashiva, a doctor at Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital, said the unidentified driver was hospitalised with major trauma to his entire body but was in stable condition.
However, Bat Yam's deputy mayor Eyal Yariv told Israel’s Channel 12 police did not respond to city hall's calls for assistance.
Police said they deployed forces along the city's border with Jaffa to prevent the mob from entering the Arab neighbourhood.
Hundreds of rockets from Gaza streaked overhead on Wednesday as Arabs and Jews continued to fight each other on the streets below and rioters torched vehicles, a restaurant and a synagogue in one of the worst spasms of communal violence Israel has seen in years.
Violent unrest has involved Jewish and Arab throngs in Lod, Acre, and Tiberias since the latest escalation between Israel and the Palestinians erupted this week.
Earlier, a group of black-clad Israelis smashed the windows of an Arab-owned ice cream shop in Bat Yam and ultranationalists could be seen chanting, "Death to Arabs!" on live television during a standoff with Border Police.
In the northern city of Tiberias, video uploaded to social media appeared to show flag-waving Israelis attacking a car.
And Israel's Channel 13 quoted a senior police officer as saying Arabs were suspected of attacking and seriously wounding a Jewish man in the coastal city of Acre amid new clashes there.
The mayor of the mixed town of Lod, which saw the worst of the violence Tuesday, compared it to a civil war or a Palestinian uprising.
In a late night television interview, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, whose figurehead office is meant to serve as the nation's moral compass, said the country was gripped by civil war and urged citizens to "stop this madness."
While Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on both Jews and Arabs to cease attacks on each other.
“It doesn't matter to me that your blood is boiling,” he said. “You can't take the law in your hands.”
Police said they arrested nearly 400 people allegedly “involved in riots and disturbances” across the country on Wednesday.
Arab experts and activists say the outbreak of violence was fuelled by unrest in Jerusalem that has brought Israel to the brink of another Gaza war, but is rooted in deeper grievances that go back to the founding of the state.
Gaza militants continued to bombard Israel with nonstop rocket fire throughout the day and into early Thursday.
The attacks brought life to a standstill in southern communities near Gaza, but also reached as far as the Tel Aviv area, about 45 miles north, for a second straight day.
The Israeli military claimed more than 1,600 rockets had been fired since Monday, with 400 falling short and landing inside Gaza.
Israeli airstrikes have struck about 600 targets inside Gaza, the military said.
Additional reporting by Associated Press
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