Haaretz Editorial || The price of incitement
The problem of migrants, which impacts many people who live in poor areas and who bear the burden of the government's failure to deal with the matter, deserves a serious and comprehensive solution.
MK Miri Regev (Likud), the former IDF spokeswoman, stood Wednesday night in front of about 1,000 inflamed protesters in south Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighborhood and said: "The Sudanese are a cancer in our body. We will do everything to send them back where they came from."
MK Danny Danon (Likud), head of the Knesset caucus "for dealing with the problem of the infiltrators," said: "The infiltrators have to be expelled. We shouldn't be afraid to say that word - expulsion, now."
MKs Yariv Levin (Likud), Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) and Michael Ben Ari (National Union) also took part in the incitement rally.
The outburst of our elected officials exacted an immediate price. After the rally hundreds of people gathered on the main street, smashed windows, looted stores, pounded on taxis driving foreigners, threw two firecrackers at police horses, beat up Sudanese people and chased a leftist activist and a journalist. "The people want to expel the Sudanese" and "Sudanese to Sudan," they shouted.
On that same day the Tel Aviv police announced that it had arrested 11 people - nine of them minors - on suspicion of attacking migrants. According to testimony, the members of the gang assaulted the foreigners with clubs and pepper spray, beat them and robbed them.
Earlier it was reported that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein supports the expulsion of citizens of South Sudan to their country. The next morning, a call went out, led by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and including the mayors of five other cities, for the imprisonment and expulsion of the migrants.
The details coalesce into one dismal picture: A dangerous campaign of incitement is now underway in Israel. Our elected officials are trying to profit politically out of people's misery and at the expense of a poor and helpless group. Human rights activists have also become a target. The history of the Jewish people - rife with instances of incitement, persecution and pogroms - does not resonate with the inciters.
The problem of migrants, which impacts many people who live in poor areas and who bear the burden of the government's failure to deal with the matter, deserves a serious and comprehensive solution. Meanwhile, it is becoming a badge of shame on an entire society.