Dozens of Israelis Demonstrate Against Home Sale to Arab Family for Second Straight Day

Signs saying 'Fighting for home' and 'We will not give the neighborhood to Islam' were put up in front of the house

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
The protest in Afula, June 14, 2018
The protest in Afula, June 14, 2018Credit: Gil Eliyahu
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

About 50 residents of the northern city of Afula demonstrated on Thursday for the second day in a row against the sale of the house to an Arab family. Signs saying "Fighting for home" and "We will not give the neighborhood to Islam" were put up in front of the house, with protesters holding up Israeli flags.

Many children were present at the demonstration. Police forces present attempted to disperse the crowd, but eventually settled for restraining protesters to the curbs.

City Council candidate Itai Cohen, who was present, said: "The protest of the residents of Yizrael neighborhood is righteous and I support it one hundred percent. Just as I clearly supported the ground bids of Afula Elite. Afula belongs to Afula's residents alone and any bold infringement upon its Jewish character I blame the city's leadership for breaching the path for a mixed city which will be a cry for generations."

About 150 residents of Afula demonstrated on Wednesday afternoon against the sale of a house to an Arab family. Protesters waved Israeli flags and carried signs condemning the sale and the homeowners who sold their house to Arabs, one of which read: "Traitors against the Jews will get no rest."

Former Afula Mayor Avi Elkabetz and Deputy Mayor Shlomo Malihi participated in the protest. Elkabetz said that "the residents of Afula don't want a mixed city, but rather a Jewish city, and it's their right. This is not racism." Malihi added: "I hope that the house sale will be cancelled so that this city won't begin to be mixed. We do not have admittance committees like in the towns and kibbutzim around us, but we will not allow the character of the city to change."

In response to Wednesday's protest, Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh wrote: "It is not a surprise that in a country that has founded 700 towns for Jews and not even one for Arabs, the idea that Arabs should be pushed aside does not shock citizens. And still, it is more than a little worrying to see how our hope for living together is crumbling due to hatred and racism fueled by the government." Member of Knesset Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) added that "racism ethnic superiority have become a legitimate reality under this right-wing government. This protest should rock the political system and keep up at night all those who care about equality and human dignity."

About two years ago, Afula residents held a number of demonstrations objecting to a bidding process for lots in a residential neighborhood of the city in which all 43 successful bidders were Arab. Approval of the bids was rescinded by the Nazareth District Court after the court found that some of the successful bidders had engaged in improper coordination of their bids and that the minimum bid provisions were vague and misleading.

Half of Jewish Israelis say they wouldn’t want an Arab as a neighbor. In March, Kfar Vradim’s local council head Sivan Yehieli ordered to halt bids for selling building plots of land in his community, after 50 percent of the winners so far turned out to be Arabs. In a letter he disseminated among the community’s residents he promised that “no more land would be sold until an appropriate solution was found to ensure our ability to maintain our communal life and the special character of Kfar Vradim."

The so-called nation-state bill passed the first of three Knesset calls in May in a a version that has a clause allowing the establishment of communities for Jews only. Clause 7b of this bill specifically states that “the state can allow a community composed of people of the same faith or nationality to maintain an exclusive community.

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