During the twelve-day conflict between the IDF and Hamas in the spring of last year, Arabs in usually peaceful Israeli cities with multiethnic populations rioted, deeply shaking the country’s general sense of safety. Yagil Henkin considers the possibility that, in the event of a larger war between Israel and, for instance, Hizballah, the latter could work with Palestinian groups to foment similar riots within Israel’s borders:
It is incorrect to regard the May 2021 events as civic disturbances or a series of individual episodes. As in any war, the enemy learns and searches for weaknesses to exploit. As a result, Israel should brace itself for a worst-case scenario in which ethnic and religious tensions are used to incite unrest and riots, disrupt army movements and reserve mobilization, cut off supply routes and access to military bases, inflict damage on military convoys, and use threats, propaganda, and possibly assassinations to force Arab and Muslim soldiers and policemen to leave the military and law enforcement. Following [the 2021 conflict], Hizballah escalated its efforts to transfer weaponry and ammunition to Israeli Arabs for use in a future conflict.
Notably, from the perspective of Iran and Hizballah, Israeli Arabs assaulting Jews and the reverse would be welcomed outcomes. Such attacks would force the police to disperse their forces and assign some of them to suppress Jewish riots rather than supporting Israeli offensive moves, limiting Israel’s freedom of action. The suspicion and tensions would undermine citizens’ sense of security and trust in government agencies, leading to further escalation and inter-communal strife. Therefore, Israel’s opponents may view any outcome as advantageous and work hard to bring about such outcomes through financial backing, disinformation, arming radicals, radicalizing youth, etc.