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/>“What will you do if an Arab hits on your sister?” asks this poster from the city of Bat Yam. There is a new phenomenon of Arab men harassing Jewish women to boost their confidence, it explains, and calls on Jews to put an end to this and to “lower their confidence.” The bottom line says “Jews let’s win!”
Both of these ads were released prior to a demonstration held yesterday in Bat Yam
to protest the increase in the number of Palestinian citizens living in the predominantly Jewish city. The protesters, at least 150 people according to Haaretz, called on residents not to rent to Arabs, echoing the letter signed by many of the country’s top rabbis a few weeks ago.
Racism in Israel is indeed on the rise. It’s widespread, overt and scary. It’s also as heartbreaking as it is ruinous.
As awful as all this is, I find that I have to try to be optimistic to survive in this place. Call me naive (many do), but I’m trying to keep my glass half full as long as possible, though it is spilling out slowly as the days go by. The mayor of Bat Yam denounced the rally, and a counter-rally was organized as well, in which people held signs like: “I love Arabs, ask me how.” I was forwarded the invitation yesterday, which read: “Instead of focusing on those who hate, we shall focus on love: love of human beings, love of one’s neighbor, love of Arabs. We invite all of you to create signs expressing support and love for those who are being attacked, and join us outside the Bat Yam mall at 19:00. Let’s do it together.”
Unfortunately, the Israeli Left is fragmented and the political opposition non-existent. It’s an uphill battle in this age-old war of love vs. hate. It baffles me that more Israelis and Jews around the world don’t see the similarities between this dangerous escalation of racism and what happened to us in Europe 70 years ago. At a recent peace rally, ex-MK Uri Avnery said:
“In 1948, when, as a simple soldier, I took part in creating this state, I did not dream that I would witness again such a process, and this time in my
own state.” (Full speech)
Ami Kaufman also had words to say about the demonstration (read to the bottom).