Arab workers across Israel have been sacked from their jobs in a racist backlash following a recent wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis, the country’s equal opportunities body admitted on Thursday.

The sackings came to light as the mayor of Ashkelon, one of Israel’s leading cities, provoked a political outcry by firing Arab builders who were constructing bomb shelters in municipal kindergartens.

The mayor, Itamar Shimoni, said he had been pressured into the move by worried parents after two Palestinians killed four rabbis and a Druze police officer in an attack on a prayer congregation at a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday that shocked the nation.

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