Editorial |

Ministerial Hazard

Communications Minister Kara calls African refugees 'sanitation hazard.' He is a crude racist

Haaretz Editorial
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Communications Minister Ayoub Kara at a government meeting in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara at a government meeting in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. Credit: Yonatan Zindel/ Flash 90
Haaretz Editorial

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara is a crude racist. One might chalk up his series of embarrassing, disturbing statements to his being a curiosity, a kind of political jester whom no one really takes seriously. But Kara is Israels communications minister, and therefore his statements must not be taken lightly.

The fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not call him on the carpet and is not considering firing him, as Kara deserves, and that his ministerial colleagues did not distance themselves from his statement that Africans refugees in Israel are a sanitation hazard, only makes his gutter language worse, and even legitimizes it.

Over the weekend, Kara threatened the media and journalists in Israel. Whoever broadcasts fake news will bring a death sentence on himself, the minister in charge of Israels media said. Only when he realized the significance of what he had said and the storm it had stirred up did he apologize. But those were not the worst things he said over the weekend.

Letting himself go at the Likuds annual retreat in Eilat, Kara lit into the refugee community and asylum-seekers in Israel. Loyal to the spirit of incitement in his party and in his partys leader, Kara said, We have to expel them from the State of Israel. They represent a sanitation hazard.

Kara came to the Knesset as a representative of the Druze community in Likud. Its not hard to imagine what would have happened if someone had attacked the Druze and stigmatized them all just to appease an enflamed crowd. Kara was not the first to raise hell this way. But to incite others against asylum-seekers and Africans is both permissible and obligatory in Likud. They are the weakest link, helpless in Israel, and they must be excoriated with abandon.

Kara probably didnt bother checking the facts and the circumstances before he expressed himself with such ignorance. He apparently needs to be reminded, as do the rest of the government ministers who insist on bringing a stain on Israel by this deportation: At least a portion of the asylum-seekers from Africa who are living in Israel are refugees who fled here from the horrors of war and the regimes in their home countries. Thousands of them went through hellish torture on their way through Sinai. It also bears recalling that not too long in Europe the same language was used against the Jews; they were called a sanitation hazard. Israel arose from their ashes, and now its communication minister dares say the same thing about other refugees.

Karas statements must not be allowed to go by the board. Silence means consent and approval for the minister to persist in his verbal assault. The prime minister must put an end to it.

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