Livni planned a campaign tour of the open-air market, famously a right-wing stronghold, but angry anti-Kadima activists surrounded her and blocked her passage. The minister only managed to cover a few meters of ground before she was forced to leave the market. Police had to use force to scatter the crowd of activists.
Tough day at the market (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Livni arrived at the market around 2:00 p.m. and was met with angry faces and loud jeers. Right-wing activists from the “Moving Right” movement along with merchants from the market said earlier in the afternoon that they would not let the visit pass quietly.
Meir, who sells fruit at the market, said if Livni “was coming to go shopping, no problem, but she might have a hard time getting in without the Shin Bet. Mahane Yehuda merchants don’t want Kadima. She can come to the entrance, but no further.”
'This is a celebration of democracy'
Kadima activists said ahead of the tour they anticipated it to be conducted respectfully and without violence, but their hopes were quickly dashed. Two weeks ago Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra toured the market to shouts of “Traitor!” and “Only Likud!”, although unlike Livni he managed to complete the tour as planned.
Yaron Tzidkiyahu, owner of Tzidkiyahu Delicacies, said that he had been a Likud supporter but recently transferred to the Kadima camp. But he said he did not mind the right-wing activism. “This is a celebration of democracy,” he said. “Only in Mahane Yehuda can you really feel the election spirit.”
Meir, who owns a fresh juice kiosk, told Ynet, “Tzipi got a bad reception because Kadima is a party established by refugees from Labor and Likud that took an illegal mandate. The Likud platform isn’t great either, but for her to come here, where she stole the mandates from, is chutzpah.”
Another salesman added: “We don’t like her here. We are Likud. We are on the Right and not the Left. We are for the Greater Land of Israel.”
The scuffle in the market wasn’t the only site of election tension Monday. Dozens of ultra-Right wing Herut activists assembled at Jaffa’s Clock Square intending to march to Bat Yam campaigning for their version of the “Evacuation Compensation” plan - to evict Israeli Arabs. Last week there were riots when Herut activists tried to march through the city, which has a significant Arab population.