Your Friday Briefing

We’re covering fears of civil war in Israel and an Eid cease-fire in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of people have been arrested on rioting charges in Israel, and the city of Lod was placed on lockdown after groups of Jews and Arabs faced off violently in the streets. Several Israeli leaders, led by President Reuven Rivlin, evoked the specter of civil war — a once unthinkable idea.

Israel carried out more airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, where the death toll rose on Thursday to 83 people, according to the Gaza health ministry. Palestinian militants fired volleys of rockets that reached far into Israel, where seven have died over the past three days.

In several Israeli cities, Jewish and Arab citizens have stoned cars, burned offices and places of worship, and formed mobs that have dragged people from their vehicles and beat them to within an inch of their lives.

On the ground: Burned-out cars litter the streets of the mixed Arab-Jewish town of Lod, the epicenter of three nights of violence in Israel. Authorities imposed a curfew and deployed armed border troops. But the moves did little to restore calm.

Arab-Jewish coexistence: Israel’s Arab minority makes up about 20 percent of the population. Israeli Arabs have full citizenship, but rights advocates say they are victims of dozens of discriminatory regulations.

Analysis: Israeli politicians often close ranks in a crisis, but this time the prime minister’s enemies, who are trying to form a government, are blaming the violence on Benjamin Netanyahu. Yair Lapid, the centrist leader of the opposition, said the events “can be no excuse for keeping Netanyahu and his government in place. Quite the opposite.”


Maharashtra and Karnataka have suspended vaccinations altogether for people under 45 in those states, so that older people can receive second doses. And a government panel has recommended widening the gap between the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing pressure to quickly expand the scope of India’s vaccination campaign as major cities run out of doses. A dozen opposition parties are calling for a lifting of vaccine patent protection to allow more production of Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech. The India-made vaccine is currently in such short supply that New Delhi had to shutter 100 vaccination sites.

Numbers: India reported about 362,000 cases on Wednesday, with infections rising in the southern city of Bengaluru and across rural India. Less than 3 percent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:


At one point after the offensive began, the Helmand River was the only barrier keeping the Taliban from overrunning government positions until U.S. and Afghan airstrikes and Afghan troops pushed the Taliban back. The insurgents struck elsewhere in the country at roughly the same time, taking several Afghan Army bases in the north.

“They won’t leave us,” Capt. Shir Agha Safi said of the Americans, not coming to terms with their departure. Their presence is still ingrained into almost every part of the war.

Only 44 people are said to have reached the summit of all 14 of the world’s highest mountains. Now researchers are raising doubts about their accomplishments, and studying all the key ascents to place climbers in precise locations. At the center of the debate is the definition of a summit.

Philip Galanes writes a Times column called Social Q’s, and he frequently gets a version of the question “How can I deal with the tensions around the resumption of social life?” Many people are ready to return to prepandemic activities, while others are not.

Philip’s main advice: “Be nice to yourself, take care of the people you love and be as compassionate as you can.” That includes being honest about disagreements — and doing so in person or by phone rather than by text.

And it’s OK to take it easy. As the author Celeste Headlee told NPR, “We have been under such a cognitive load over the past year or so that there just may not be the space for two things in one day.”

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