Rahat residents upset
Photo: Haim Hornstein

Bedouins: Far-right activists unwelcome

Mayor of Bedouin town says visiting far-right activists may encounter 'unpleasant welcome'

Residents of the southern Bedouin town of Rahat are furious over a planned visit by far-right activists in their community.


Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Sahiban said Thursday that he firmly objects to the visit, which is expected to include National Union Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari as well as rightist activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir.


"We refuse to host them in our town," the mayor said. "I sent a letter to the minister of internal security…to warn about the danger this visit poses to city residents. This causes genuine danger to the lives of residents, most of whom are children. The average age in Rahat is 13 and 65% of residents are under the age of 18. This is a city of children, and a visit by rightist activists may lead to riots."


Mayor Sahiban added that should the visit take place, "rightist activists may encounter an unpleasant welcome."


Earlier this week, National Union Knesset members visited southern communities, but stayed away from Bedouin villages and the town of Rahat. The visit was accompanied by police officers due to fears that tensions could boil over during the day.


Meanwhile, Itamar Ben-Gvir lamented what he characterized as illegal construction across Rahat.


"Illegal construction exists not only at the center of the city, where we got a permit to hold our tour," he said. "There is illegal construction in the suburbs too. We do not fear residents in the town – the opposite is true."


Ben-Gvir characterized the local objection to the rightist tour as "threats," adding that this merely boosts the activists' motivation to visit the town "and take care of the phenomenon of illegal construction there." He added that the State was doing nothing about the problem, while destroying Jewish outposts in the West Bank.


פרסום ראשון: 07.09.09, 23:55
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