Arabs flee home due to racist threats
Four Muslims, Druze forced out of rented flat in Tel Aviv after neighbors, who say rabbi told them Arabs must leave, vandalize their home and threaten to attach explosives to their car. 'I felt humiliated by hatred,' says Abbas, who served in IDF. But residents claim Arabs were less than neighborly: 'At night we are afraid to walk around neighborhood,' says one woman
"I felt humiliated by the hatred," said Ganem Abbas, the young Druze man, who has served in the IDF.
Abbas, originally from Abu Sinan in the north, came to the center of Israel two weeks ago in order to work at a construction site in Jaffa, which he says is owned by the municipality. He and his friends decided to rent an apartment nearby, in Shapiro neighborhood in Tel Aviv.
But three days ago the friends returned home in the evening to see that their main water pipe had been broken. Gas bottles had been stolen.
"The landlady told me that people from the neighborhood had threatened to torch the house and attack her if we don't get out, because we're Arabs," Abbas said.
He also described a particularly humiliating moment. "The neighbors came out and started to yell that they don't want to see Arabs in the neighborhood, and that it is for Jews only," he recounted.
Abbas: Racism getting stronger (Photo: Ofer Amram)
"When we heard that, four of the guys decided to go back up north because they felt their lives were in danger."
Mahmoud Dalasha, 37 from the village of Bu'eine, says the neighbors "sent their kids to swear at us". Ganem stayed because he is Druze, Dalasha said, but the rest fled the area.
"There were dozens of people there who said they had asked the rabbi, who told them we had to be evicted," he recounted. Dalasha added that the neighbors had threatened to attach an explosive device to his car.
Dalasha blames the government "for everything going on with racism, because I guess Arabs don't count in this country".
"(The government) is just working to expel Arabs from their lands, but this will never happen. We will stand up to all the racism and hatred," he vowed.
"I cam to Tel Aviv to work and support my family, not to go wild, but now I have to look for other work."
Abbas, for his part, has reached the conclusion that "racism is getting stronger everywhere after the rabbis' call not to rent to Arabs, and the day may come when we are expelled from the state though we are a part of it".
"This act destroys coexistence. I feel humiliated from this intolerable cruelty. Despite serving in the army and telling the neighbors this, but they didn't care and only gave us the evil eye. I have heard stories about Arabs who were fired for speaking their mother tongue – even that disturbs the racists."
'Racism against Arabs will continue'
Meanwhile, a young woman who claims that she was harassed by one of the Arabs in the narrow streets of southern Tel Aviv told Ynet: "I passed here and then he whistled at me right in my face. It was extremely uncomfortable. There are a lot of little girls here. It was the middle of the day, at night we are afraid to walk around the neighborhood."
The woman's father claimed that since the five Arabs arrived in the neighborhood, the situation in the area had deteriorated rapidly. "The foreign infiltrators changed the daily routine over the past few years, and the residents fear that the Arabs will do the same," he said.
"People just want to live in peace. This is a peaceful street, we fear for our daughters. A day or two after they moved in they already started whistling at all the girls, who knows hat would have happened after that."
He stated that his son went up to one of the Arab's and asked him – what he would have done if a Jew would flirt with his sister? "He answered that he would have 'broken all the bones in his body' what do you say to that? Are Israeli girls to be abandoned?!"
Rabbi Achiad Ettinger who has been leading a campaign against foreign infiltrators in southern Tel Aviv said that he doesn't know the specific case. But claimed that over the past few weeks there had been two stabbing incidents in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Shapiro – in both cases, Arabs stabbed Jews.
"In one case, an Arab came out of a cab and picked a fight with a group of Israelis who were coming out of a pub and after they told him that they didn't want any trouble, he jumped on one of them with a knife and fled the scene after a struggle. In another case, an Arab stabbed a Jewish woman in the chest, right here in this neighborhood."
Landlady Ora Iwan told Ynet she had not instructed the five to leave, and that she was equally shocked by her neighbors' behavior. "They said they would make my life very difficult if I didn't tell the Arabs to get out," she said.
However Iwan is fearful of filing an official complaint. "If they had weapons they would have used them. After what I saw, I think racism against Arabs will continue," she said.
Aviel Magnezi and Yoav Zitun contributed to this report
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