Sketch of the future Jewish-only project in Jaffa.
Sketch of the future Jewish-only project in Jaffa.
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Besides porcelain granite floor tiles, a double sink and 16-amp sockets at Jaffa’s Pearl apartments, the developer is promising buyers another perk – a building for Jews only in the heart of an Arab neighborhood. This clause isn’t clearly stipulated, but it’s part of the marketing campaign of the contractor, Yaakov Hayman. He’s a resident of the settlement of Itamar who once caused a stir because he only employed Jewish laborers.

In recent weeks ads have been published in religious-Zionist neighborhoods announcing that the project will consist of 12 units at “significant discounts, walking distance from the beach promenade and a sukkah balcony in every apartment.” In a tour for potential buyers Monday, Hayman said the “project is being marketed to the religious community, but any Jew can buy an apartment if he pledges to maintain a religious atmosphere.”

When he was asked about the neighbors, his wife Varda said: “There are both Arabs and Jews here. It seems like there are a lot of Arabs because they make a lot of noise.” Her husband added: “The ultimate vision is for Jaffa to be Jewish. Any Jew who buys an apartment in Jaffa raises the chances of more Jews buying apartments here.”

The project’s racist marketing campaign is unacceptable not only morally but legally. The law prohibits discrimination based on a customer’s religion or nationality.

A similar case went to court about a year ago when an Israeli Arab who wanted to buy an apartment in Acre’s Moshe Harif project was rejected. In an out-of-court settlement, the company agreed to pay compensation and pledged not to discriminate in the future.

After this case, the Israel Lands Administration, which was also sued, pledged that within 90 days a clause would be added to every land tender for construction letting the state fine developers who discriminate. Such discrimination is not only unjust based on civil rights, it’s a criminal offense liable for a fine. Under the law, it breaches the principle of equality, which is of interest to society, not just the individual victim.

People looking to buy an apartment in the Jaffa project must not cooperate with discrimination and racism. And the attorney general must warn the developer about the illegality of his actions.