'You Help Brothers Before Cousins': Party Running for Haifa Municipal Elections to Create Jews-only Merchant List

As part of city council campaign, chairman of right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party vows to boost business of Jewish merchants in Talpiot produce market

File photo: Talpiot produce market, Haifa.
Rami Shllush

The chairman of the Habayit Hayehudi party in Haifa, which is running in the upcoming municipal council election, is putting together a list of Jewish merchants who operate stalls in the city's Talpiot market.

“We are obligated to assist Jewish merchants and to bring in more merchants to strengthen them," Yoav Ramati, chairman of Habayit Hayehudi party in Haifa, wrote on Facebook. He plans to create a “publication of an advertising booklet that will contain a list of the merchants and their merchandise, with a picture of their stall.”

The booklet will be distributed to the public, Ramati wrote, who will be able to order goods from the merchants. “Of course we will involve a kashrut supervisor, to be funded by the merchants, who will also oversee contributions and tithing, etc.”

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Ramati added that sales points will be established in other neighborhoods to enable easier access to the merchants.

“These actions," he concluded, "will immediately strengthen the Jewish merchants, increase buying power and allow their development and future consolidation as a positive force in the market.“

The Hadar neighborhood of Haifa, in northern Israel, in 2012.
Eyal Toueg

Ramati told Haaretz that "people say the religious are not Zionist, don't go to the military, so here we are raising a Zionist flag, we are back in Zion after 2,000 years." He said that it was the market's Jewish merchants who turned to him, noting that "had others turned to us, we would help them too."

Ramati added: "I help my relatives first - these are my brothers and these are my cousins, and you help your brothers before your cousins," supposedly referring to Jews as his brothers and Arabs as his cousins.

Construction on the Talpiot market, the city’s main fresh produce outlet located in the central Hadar neighborhood, began in the late 1930s at the initiative of lcoal residents; the market opened in 1940, when the city’s mayor was Hassan Shukri. Now run by the Haifa Municipality, Talpiot has known its ups and downs, but in the past few years has undergone renovations and has become a venue for city-sponsored cultural events.

Ramati, an electrical engineer, is appearing in campaign ads for the local branch of the religious-Zionist, right-wing, Habayit Hayehudi party under the slogan: “Creating infrastructure for life in the spirit of Jewish values throughout Haifa, for the entire population.” Among the goals stated in the party's platform, under the heading “good governance,” is the aspiration that Haifa become “a city with a Jewish-Zionist character that includes the entire population in the spirit of the State of Israel."

The platform supports "a municipal bylaw, by means of which government symbols (flag, etc.), will be placed on municipal buildings (including various administrative offices and departments), state-run educational institutions (kindergartens, schools, etc.), libraries, sports facilities, theaters, etc. The municipality will encourage the granting of discounts and will ease conditions for those in the service of the security of the state... The municipality is subservient to and loyal to the government of Israel and will not allow its sovereignty to be undermined by demonstrations by law-breakers.”