Israelis protest against Arabs in their midst

Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank, Tuesday 21 Dec 2010

Hundreds of right-wing Jews take to the streets in the city of Bat Yam shouting anti-Arab slogans and demanding the expulsion of non-Jews

Jewish fascism
Right wing Israelis protest against non-Jews in Bat Yam near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, 10 December 2010. (AP)

The Israeli coastal city of Bat Yam witnessed on Monday the latest in a series of incidents of rising racial hostility in the country targeting non-Jews and Arabs in particular.

Extremists affiliated with right-wing parties in the Israeli Knesset demonstrated shouting hate filled slogans such as "we want a Jewish Bat Yam" and "Arabs out" while police looked on.

The demonstration was also attended by several settler leaders from Jewish colonies in the West Bank, including Baruch Marzel, a settler in Hebron who openly calls for the expulsion from or enslavement of non-Jews in Israel/Palestine. Marzel has been involved in numerous terrorist acts against Palestinians.

Posters that accompanied the demonstration proclaimed "Jewish girls are for the Jewish people." According to organizers, non-Jewish Israeli citizens, including Arabs, have been renting and buying property in the city which they argued "undermined the ethnic and religious purity of Israel."

In recent weeks, dozens of state-funded rabbis issued a religious edict, urging Jews not to sell or rent property to non-Jews, arguing that doing so constituted a violation of Talmudic laws.

The edict has been criticized by some Israeli officials and intellectuals as immoral and counterproductive. However, the edict has not been retracted.

Earlier, Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual mentor of the ultra-Orthodox Haredi party, Shas, was quoted as saying that non-Jews are effectively animals such as donkeys created by the Lord solely to serve the Chosen people, namely Jews.

Israel defines herself as a Jewish and democratic state. However, many academics and observers are convinced that Israel can't really be Jewish and democratic at the same time since the two are a contradiction. They argue that Jewish Talmudic laws are incompatible with democratic values.

Nearly two months ago, the Israeli government passed a draft law obliging non-Jews aspiring to obtain the Israeli citizenship to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state.

The measure is seen as a means to ostensibly deny millions of Palestinian refugees the right of repatriation as enshrined in UN resolution 194.

Bat Yam is not the only city infested with anti-Arab racism. The northern city of Safad, the original hometown of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has also been witnessing an anti-Arab campaign, directed specifically at Arab students attending a popular college in the city.

The campaign is spearheaded by the city's rabbi, Shmuel Elyahu, who argues that it is inconceivable for non-Jews to disturb Jews, hence the prohibition of renting apartments to them.

Shmuel Elyahu is the son of Rabbi Mordechai Elyahu who advocated the killing of non-Jewish children whether they posed an actual or potential danger to Israeli soldiers.

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