Arab residents from Haifa, in protest of Avigdor Lieberman's controversial ad campaigns, protested against the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman on Sunday, standing outside a conference where he was lecturing. Some of them even shouted their message in Russian.
"Dear people, don't follow the way of fascism," yelled one protester, holding up a sign reading 'racism'. Others at the rally censured Lieberman's contentious idea of transfer, shouting slogans such as: "The transfer will not happen, we will live here together," "Fascism will not pass," and "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies."
The atmosphere became heated when a group of Lieberman supporters arrived on the scene, singing "no citizenship without loyalty." Police separated the more belligerent individuals on each side.
Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center - the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel – was arrested during the rally for suspicion of assaulting police officers. He was later released to house arrest by the Haifa Magistrates' Court.
Laura Hawa, a member of the 'Agenda' organization explained that the point of the anti-Lieberman protest was a response to the fact that "he had arrived to a bastion of coexistence, almost the only one in Israel, and it's important for us to respond."
At the conference itself, Lieberman said that the Likud party intended to support his party's platform and implement a loyalty test to citizens. "I am pleased that the Likud is joining our initiative, and I ask myself why others in respected parties are driving themselves crazy trying to pick fights with us. We will not be dragged into fights."
"The answer is clear: We have a clear message. Without loyalty there can be no citizenship. And they have no substantive response to make so they badmouth us," he added.
Uzi Landau, the second on Yisrael Beiteinu's party list, said at the conference: "I remember that preliminary polls showed us getting only eight mandates and now they show a different story. This is happening because people in Israel are sick of leaders who say one thing and do another."