Location Israel Israel

Israeli town residents take to streets in hundreds to protest sale of house to Arabs

The deputy mayor of the northern Israeli town of Afula has joined a demonstration calling for a house in the community not to be sold to an “undesirable” Arab-Israeli family.

Approximately 150 people marched through the town’s streets on Wednesday afternoon to protest against the owners of a house in the Yizrael neighbourhood who decided to sell to Arabs.

Flyers circulated before the protest called on Afula’s residents to “put a stop to this phenomenon… the sale of homes to those who are undesirable in the neighbourhood… from the beginning”.

Demonstrators carried flags and placards, one of which read: “Traitors against the Jews will get no rest.”

The protesters were joined by both Afula’s deputy mayor, Shlomo Malihi, and its former mayor Avi Elkabetz, who is seeking a return to office.

“The residents of Afula don’t want a mixed city, but rather a Jewish city, and it’s their right. This is not racism,“ Mr Malihi said, according to Haaretz.

“I hope that the house sale will be cancelled so that this city won’t begin to be mixed. We do not have admittance committees like in the towns and kibbutzim around us, but we will not allow the character of the city to change.”

In 2016, Afula also saw protests after all the bids for lots in a new residential neighbourhood were won by Arab families.

Approval for all 43 was eventually overturned by Nazareth District Court after technical errors were identified in the bidding process.

Although around 20 per cent of Israel’s 8.6 million-strong population is Arab, a “nation state” bill currently being considered by the Knesset contains a clause that would allow the establishment of Jewish-only communities.

The bill has been widely condemned by Arab politicians.

“The racism of ethnic superiority has become a legitimate reality under this right-wing government,” Arab Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen said in response to the developments in Afula.

“This protest should rock the political system and keep up at night all those who care about equality and human dignity.”

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