At least three people were injured in the nights that followed as groups of Arab and Jewish youths clashed with each other and police. Arab homes were torched, while more than 100 cars and 40 shops were damaged.

'Politically motivated' 

Arab politicians said that the arrest was politically motivated and demanded Jamal immediate release.

"I am sure some Jews also drove on Yom Kippur. Will the police arrest them?" Abbas Zkoor, an Arab member of parliament from Acre, asked.

While Ahmad Tibi, another MP, said: "It is the first time anyone is arrested for harming religious sensitivities.

"Police caved in to pressure from the fascist right which demanded his arrest, demonstrating it is a Jewish, racist and idiotic police.

"I wonder if the Israeli government will in future arrest Jews who eat or drink in mixed cities during Ramadan," he said in reference to the Muslim month of fasting.

Arabs with Israeli citizenship, the descendants of those who remained when the Jewish state was created in 1948, make up about 20 per cent of the Israeli population.

The ancient port of Acre is populated by both Jews and Arabs who live in adjacent and some mixed neighbourhoods.