More than 150 right-wing activists demonstrated Monday in the central Israeli city of Bat Yam against leasing apartments to Arabs, declaring that the city must remain Jewish.
Bat Yam protest
The demonstrators participating in the protest, entitled "Keeping Bat Yam Jewish," called for keeping a Jewish majority in the city, carrying signs saying "Jews, let's win – daughters of Israel for sons of Israel."
According to organization A Jewish Bat Yam, which organized the event, there has been a recent rise in the number of Arabs moving to Bat Yam - and they have been hassling the local Jewish women.
The protest was met by leftist demonstrators who carried signs reading "I love Arabs – ask me how," and "if your sister is as disgusting as you, who will hit on her?"
The demonstration took place amid recent uproar surrounding a religious ruling signed by a number of leading rabbis to forbid renting homes to gentiles – a move particularly aimed against Arabs.
The rabbis defended their decision with the declaration that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.
"Racism originated in the Torah," said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. "The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted."
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