Photo: Reuven Schwartz
Mayor Lavi. 'Go to Jaljulia'
Photo: Reuven Schwartz
Gil Yohanan
MK Barakeh. 'Resign'
Gil Yohanan
Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK El-Sana. 'Apologize'
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Arab MKs: Ramla mayor racist, should resign

Mayor Yoel Lavi sparks row after refusing to change street names to Arab names, noting, 'If Arabs don’t like it they can go to Jaljulia.' MK El-Sana: With such a racist outlook, there is no wonder why Ramla resident are in the situation they are in today'

Arab Knesset members were furious Thursday over the remarks of Ramla Mayor Yoel Lavi, who referred to a request made by Arab residents to change the names of the streets they live in to Arab names.


According to a report published in Yedioth Ahronoth Thursday morning, Lavi said, "If they don’t like it, they should go and live in Jaljulia (an Arab village), which is an Arab name. What happened, what? Why should I change the name, because Jamal wants to change the name? He should change his Allah."


Following the remarks, Hadash Chairman MK Mohammed Barakeh demanded that the interior minister dismisses the Ramla mayor.


"These are racist, despicable and dangerous remarks, which express the moral chasm he has deteriorated to," Barakeh charged.


'Arabs have always lived in Ramle'

MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al) said that "with such a racist and unacceptable outlook, there is no wonder that Ramla's residents are in the situation they are in today. He is unworthy to serve as the mayor of a mixed town."


El-Sana also demanded that Lavi apologizes for his comments.


"He must remember that Arabs have always lived in Ramla, and if that bothers him, I call on him to resign," he said.


MK Rabbi Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) also protested the mayor's remarks.


"As a Jew who is a citizen of this state, and as chairman of the Knesset's Education and Culture Committee, I am deeply ashamed at hearing Ramle Mayor Yoel Lavi's horrible racist remarks.


"Such remarks should have no room in the State of Israel. The mayor must urgently repair the injustice caused to his residents and to all of us and apologize. The interior minister must call the mayor to order."


Lavi's remarks were made after a reporter asked for his response for the fact that Ramla's Arab residents had asked to change the street names from Zechariah, Nehemia and Bialik to Tawfiq Zayyad and Emile Habibi.


Lavi later apologized for the way in which he expressed himself against Arabs in his city. However, Lavi said that he still stands behind the essence of his comments.


"I think that there is no reason to change the names of streets from Jewish to Arab names. I meant that whoever wants Arab street names should live in Jaljulia, and I stand behind these statements," said Lavi.


פרסום ראשון: 11.30.06, 11:20
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