Rahat: Rightists' Visit Will Spark Violence

Rahat residents warned on Saturday that a planned tour of the Israeli Arab town by far-rightists on Sunday would spark violent clashes.

"We won't allow a racist rabble trying to incite against the Arab public to arrive at Rahat," vowed MK Talab al-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al). "We won't welcome them with flowers."

He spoke as hundreds of residents of Rahat, a Bedouin town in the Negev, demonstrated against the planned tour and denounced police for approving it. They branded the move as a provocation and threatened to block it with their bodies.

Police approved the entry of a group of 50 far-rightists, headed by MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), who will walk one kilometer into the town - similar to the march by far-rightists in the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm in March. Fifteen policemen were wounded during protests following that march. Al-Sana added: "The feeling is that this public is suffering an all-out attack. There is an attempt to Judaicize the region by altering identity and falsifying history."

Balad chairman, Jamal Zahalka, said Rahat residents would welcome rightists in the same manner Umm al-Fahm residents greeted them in March: "The time has come for it to be understood in Israel that racism is a violation of the law."