There has been much talk recently over the new campaign aimed at preventing marriage between Jews and none-Jews, but here is a story that touches similar notes but went completely under the radar. It was published only in mynet.co.il, Ynet’s local news site, which usually draws very little attention. There, between stories about flower exhibitions and a deserted car bothering neighbors in Natanya, was the following headline:
“Municipality will locate girls meeting regularly with members of minorities”.
I only saw the story after some friends posted it on Facebook.
The headline’s meaning might be a bit unclear for non-Israelis, but in Hebrew, “members of ethnic minorities” always means Arabs, since Jews are being referred to by their specific minority: Russians, Sephardic, Ethiopians, etc.
The story itself tells of a special team that was formed within the Youth Office of the municipality of Petah Tikva (a large suburb of Tel Aviv). Its mission: to locate “and help” Jewish girls that are meeting with Arabs.
The people in the municipality of Petah Tikva are proud of their new initiative (I would bet that the story was delivered to Mynet’s reporter through the city’s spokesperson, or at least with his approval). As one director in the municipality states (my Italic):
“The minority people problem is well known to us”, says the head of the Youth Office [in the municipality], Moshe Spector. “Our efforts to deal with it are real and sincere. There are a few problematic areas [in the city], and the municipality is making an effort to examine this issue together with the police.”
The article explains that the initiative was born following the murder of Arie Karp on Tel Aviv’s beach last month. According to the police, Karp was harassed and than beaten to death by a group of Arabs and two Jewish girls who were partying in the area. Their trail opened earlier this week.
It couldn’t have been more obvious. No city in Israel, not even Petah Tikva, has ever “dealt with the problems” of girls dating Russians or Ethiopians, even as there were numerous crimes committed by members of these ethnic groups. Yes, it’s back to the oldest allegation in the racist’s handbook: “they are taking away our girls!”
Until now, these kinds of accusations were made in Israel only by radical right wing or religious groups. Interracial relations were a favorite theme with the late MK Rabbi Meir Kahana, the patron saint of fascist hate-talkers in Israel. Kahana was kicked out of the Knesset in the 80′s after his effort to introduce a law threatening those who take part in interracial relations with a prison term. In the rest of his time he was campaigning for striping all Arabs from their citizenship rights and expelling all Palestinians to Jordan and Egypt by force.
In his verdict verifying the Knesset’s decision not to let Kahana ran again for election, wrote Meir Shamgar, the president of the Supreme Court, that Kahana’s actions were reminding “the worst harms that were imposed upon our people.”
Kahana’s party, Kach, was later outlawed.
Twenty one years have passed, and the ideas of Meir Kahana are now the official policy in the city of Petah Tikva, a quiet residential suburb of Tel Aviv.
Take part in an internet campaign against the new initiative. Write an e-mail to Petah tikva’s mayor, Yitzhak Ohaion, (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call his office (03- 9052248). Be polite: It’s more useful. More details here (in Hebrew).
And that’s what journalist and activist Dimi Reider has to say on the issue.