Anti-Arab graffiti prompts message of tolerance in Jerusalem
After finding anti-Arab slogans spray-painted near a Jerusalem park, which has come to symbolize peaceful coexistence, residents were not content with the mere removal of the hateful graffiti calling for Arabs to ‘go home’ and for ‘revenge’, resolving to head for the park to make signs bearing messages against bigotry and racism; ‘We want to live in peace and harmony.’
Residents of the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem were shocked on Wednesday to discover racist, anti-Arab graffiti sprayed near a park connecting the neighborhood with the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa.
“Arabs, go home,” and “We want revenge” were two of the hateful slogans sprayed on walls near the park, which was, since its establishment, a popular recreational spot for Jews and Arabs alike, thus becoming a symbol for peaceful coexistence.
“Khaneh was right” was also sprayed on the walls in reference to Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the outlawed Kach movement, who was assassinated in Manhattan in 2012.
The stunned residents reported the vandalism to the city municipality, which was promptly removed.
Not content with the mere removal of the graffiti, some of the residents made their way to the park with their children—still during their Passover holiday—and made big colorful signs bearing the opposite message of the hateful graffiti: ‘We love our neighbors.’
Ilana Nelson, a resident of the neighborhood who made the sign with her kids, said "our message, the messeage of the residents, is that we do not tolerate racism.
"We want to live in peace and harmony with our neighbors. Just yesterday I was at the park with my husband and I saw a nice couple, an Arab Muslim and a woman wearing a Hijab, who asked a Jewish couple to take their picture," she added.
"I thought we lived normal lives in a normal world, and then we woke up to that."
Nelson's son, who studies at Jerusalem's Yad be-Yad Max Rayne Bilingual School, wrote the sign in both Hebrew and Arabic.
(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)