Hundreds of residents in the northern Israeli town of Afula marched through the town’s streets on Wednesday afternoon to protest the sale of a house to a family of Palestinian citizens
They were joined by the former mayor in calling for the house not to be sold to an “undesirable” Arab-Israeli family.
Dozens of Israelis continued to demonstrate against the property sale for a second day on Thursday according to Haaretz.
Middle East Monitor reports: The protest, which was attended by Afula Mayor Avi Elkabetz and Deputy Mayor Shlomo Malihi, saw some 150 local residents wave Israeli flags and carry signs condemning those who sold their house to Palestinians; one sign read: “Traitors against the Jews will get no rest.”
Mayor Elkabetz declared:
The residents of Afula don’t want a mixed city, but rather a Jewish city, and it’s their right. This is not racism.
Deputy 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.”
Admittance committees review potential residents in hundreds of Israeli communities, a mechanism used to filter out non-Jewish citizens and maintain segregation. The committees’ role is enshrined in legislation in roughly 43 per cent of Israeli communities.
A notice calling on residents to attend the demonstration referred to “the sale of homes to those who are undesirable in the neighbourhood”, continuing:
“One transaction has already been carried out and everything needs to be done to cancel it and to put a stop to this phenomenon from the beginning. Friends, now is the time to come together. All Jews are responsible for one another! Today it’s us, tomorrow, it’s you.”
Responding to the Afula protest, MK Yousef Jabareen of the Joint List said that “racism, ethnic superiority has 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.”
MK Ayman Odeh said: “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.”
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 per cent of the winners so far turned out to be Arabs”, Haaretz noted. He vowed “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”.