Allow us to introduce you to young Kochav Segal Halevi. The 26-year-old Israeli is receiving death threats. In fact, he had to go into hiding. His offense? He purchased an apartment in the Arab town of Ibillin, not far from Haifa.
The Arabs there do not like the idea of their town being polluted by the presence of a Jew. I mean, one Jew and there goes the neighborhood. Arabs who sell property to Jews have similarly been threatened and attacked. And of course the moderates from the Palestinian Authority routinely torture and execute Arabs who sell to Jews.
I mention this because the leftist media in Israel and in the world are, as usual, up in arms over supposed Israeli Jewish racism against Arabs.
Yes, there are Jewish closed communities in Israel, some of them religiously observant, where one must be accepted by admissions committees, and they tend to refuse membership to Arabs “to preserve the character of the community.” (In religious communities, non-religious Jews get barred as well. Other communities, including kibbutzim, have age and marital status restrictions.)
But the reality is that, by and large, Israeli Arabs can live in just about any Jewish area in the country, while Jews cannot move into any Arab town, village or neighborhood. Jews cannot move into the Arab areas because they will be murdered if they move there. Every Israeli understands these unwritten “rules of the game.”
In fact, Jews often risk their lives just passing through Arab areas, as a group of four Jewish Hebrew University students discovered during a recent weekend when they were almost lynched after making a wrong turn into an Arab neighborhood next to the campus.
Arabs from (Arab) Nazareth routinely buy housing in (Jewish) Upper Nazareth, but Jews from Upper Nazareth never purchase property in (Arab) Nazareth, knowing they’d be killed if they did. During the pogroms by Galilee Arabs in the summer of 2000, Arabs invaded Upper Nazareth and attacked Jews there. The Jews of Upper Nazareth did not attack Arabs in Nazareth. So who are the racists there?
More generally, the new party line of the radical Left is that, yes, Arabs must be permitted to live anywhere they want among Israeli Jews, but no, Jews must be prevented from ever moving into areas the Left regards as “Arab” – i.e., places where Jews do not belong. Hebrew University’s tenured leftists and their jihadi fellow travelers have been leading the marches in Jerusalem to prevent Jews from moving into neighborhoods inside Jerusalem regarded by the Left as areas where Jews are regarded as “intruders.”
Many parts of the Galilee today have Arab majorities. The Jews in Carmiel and Safed, to name but two towns, feel they are under demographic siege. Much of the local opposition to Arabs moving into those towns is based on the fact that violence and hostilities have broken out whenever significant numbers of Arabs moved to neighborhoods there. After all, we are in the middle of a war and the local Arabs, by and large, openly identify with the country’s enemies.
The anti-Israel Left sees “racism” in calls to restrict Arabs moving into the Jewish towns of the Galilee, but has never expressed an iota of criticism about the violent threats that prevent Jews from moving into Arab areas. Those folks have had nothing to say about the plight of young Halevi. That’s not racism, you see.
The Left also is completely silent about the violent attacks by Arabs against right-wing Jewish protesters who hold marches in some Arab towns, like Umm al-Fahm, the seat of the Israeli Arab pro-jihad Islamofascist movement (a movement that openly identifies with the Hamas). After all, those Jewish marchers are violating the anti-Jewish sensitivities of the local Arabs.
Of course, when gay pride marches are held in Jewish religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem (but never, mind you, in Muslim neighborhoods there), no leftist thinks those marchers should be expected to respect local sensitivities.
It is true that threats against Jews, which effectively prevent Jews from living in Arab areas in the Galilee and Negev and elsewhere, are not formal and officially proclaimed. Nevertheless, everyone in the country understands the threats of violence that operate against Jews seeking to live in Arab areas.
Again, the leftist knee-jerk response to Jewish “invasions” of areas where “Jews do not belong” has been to demand that the Jews be evicted. Arabs routinely move into many Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa and there have been virtually no incidents of violence against them. Meanwhile the Left keeps insisting that any peace deal with the Palestinian Authority must involve the complete eviction of all Jews living in the West Bank. Arabs will be free to live in Israel after any such “peace deal,” but Jews must be prohibited from living in what could become “Palestinian areas.”
So who are the real racists? Where is the real apartheid?
Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.