Left-wing activists, most of them National Religious Jews, marched through the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm Sunday in a move aimed at countering a rightist march that took place there two weeks ago.
The activists were received by the mayor and a number of residents who handed them flowers. "The city of Umm al-Fahm accepts all visitors, gives them flowers and doesn't hand out stones," said Mayor Sheikh Khaled Hamdan.
Marchers, brought together by the movements Yud Bet B'Heshvan, (The 12th of Heshvan) and the New Israel Fund, carried signs contradicting extreme rightist Baruch Marzel and his followers saying: 'The Jewish majority living in the State is different'.
Yud Bet B'Heshvan director Gadi Gvaryahu told Ynet, "We are the countering response to the Kahane followers' march of racism and hatred. In our opinion they are desecrators of God, and we've come here to say that for every march by Kahane's followers, we will come here to plant harmony and friendship."
The city's municipality expressed satisfaction. MK Afu Aghbaria (Hadash) told Ynet, "We are a city of peace, a city that accepts visitors with the greatest warmth, but not those who arrive with police escorts. This initiative is wonderful. It comes at the right time and proves that not all residents of Israel are racist and extremist, but just the opposite."
After the march the mayor spoke before those who participated and said, "I want to take advantage of this opportunity to warn against the rise to power of rightists and the spread of racism, especially at this time when racists are receiving senior positions in government."
He added, "We must work together against such phenomena. Your visit is an important message to Jewish society, Arab society, and the whole of Israel's society."