March 30, “Land Day,” is an annual commemoration of the events of that date in 1976, when strikes and violent riots of Israeli Arabs erupted throughout the country, over government plans to appropriate a large area of land inside the “green line” to be used for security and housing purposes. Six Arabs were killed at the time.
The majority of Land Day demonstrators have always been Israeli Arabs, who carry Israeli ID cards and enjoy all the privileges of life in a Western democracy. This Saturday afternoon, ten thousand Israeli Arabs attended the central rally in the thriving Israeli-Arab town of Sakhnin. The Procession included activists from human rights organizations and supporters of Bedouin rights.
The participants, all Israeli citizens, raised Palestinian flags, and some activists were waving Syrian flags, in support of the Assad regime. Hadash party chairman MK Mohammed Barakeh said that “the commemoration of the 37th Land Day was marked by an escalation on the part of the establishment of taking what is left of the land of Arab citizens in the Negev, in addition to the Arab land shortages in the Galilee and the Arab Triangle.”
Two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded during a riot on Saturday outside the town of Qalqiliya in Judea and Samaria. The riot began at a large demonstration on the occasion of “Land Day.” A medical team evacuated the two soldiers to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba for further treatment. A 5-year-old child injured by a stone thrown by Arabs at his vehicle outside the settlement of Efrat was taken to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem.
Immediately after the child had been injured, clashes erupted between some 20 Arabs with IDF soldiers, who responded with crowd dispersal means. Disturbances were also reported in Qalandiya, where a hundred Arabs clashed with IDF soldiers, who were forced to use riot dispersal means. No injuries were reported.
One person was arrested Saturday in a Land Day procession of a few dozen Arab residents of East Jerusalem, after police ordered demonstrators to disperse. There were no casualties in that incident.
During the Land Day rally in the town of Sakhnin, a crowd of pro-Syrian Arabs beat up an al-Jazeera crew member, to protest the network’s coverage of events in Syria. The Muslim network refused to file a complaint with the Israeli police.
A jeep with three Arabs was spotted outside the town of Ofarim in Judea and Samaria, as three rifles started to emerge from inside the vehicle. A police force gave chase, during which the Arabs threw their weapons out the windows. When finally stopped, the Arabs claimed to be hunters. Two hunting rifles and ammunition were found in the car. Al,three were taken in for questioning.
Last night I was stuck in Jerusalem traffic (Jerusalem was designed to handle 400 vehicles, give or take a horse-drawn buggy, and is invaded each weekday by a million motorists), and because I always think of you, dear reader, my radio was tuned to Reshet Bet to catch the news (Kol Israel has a new news edition on the hour and the half hour, and if we’re not careful they’re perfectly ready to do minute 15 and 45, too). The 5 PM news had two items that would have made me fall off my seat laughing under normal conditions, and I’m not sure which one should be delivered first—my instinct says to go with the individual and move up to the group story.
Believe it or not, “Robbery by note” is a regular crime category in Israel. It involves a guy walking into a bank, presenting the teller with a note demanding a certain amount of money, and the teller gives it over.
Yes, it’s just like the bank robbery scene from Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run.”
Yesterday, in Ashdod, the robber’s note read: “This is a robbery.” He passed this note to a bank teller in the city’s A Quarter. The teller handed over to the robber—whom he assumed was armed, but that part is not at all clear—the amount of money he had on hand, and soon after, the robber disappeared.
Estimates are that the robber walked away with tens of thousands of shekels, which is a very good pay for writing such a short note. I mean, for that kind of money I’d expect several typed pages with an executive summary, but I would be wrong.
On January 29, the same thing took place in the city of Lod, where the robber submitted a written request for 20 thousand shekels, the teller happened to have that amount on hand, placed it in a handsome envelope and gave it to the man.
It was all shot on a smartphone by a waiting customer and shown on Channel 10 News.
So that’s one great way of making a living from writing in Israel.
THE WAGES OF RACISM
On Thursday, three days before the soccer match between Beitar Jerusalem and the team representing the Arab town of Sakhnin, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, and the Israel Sports Betting Board, transferred to Beitar the amount of 200 thousand shekels to help the team with its action against violence and racism that have recently exploded among some fans—in reaction to the addition of two Muslim players from Chechnya (Chech players?) Zaor Sdayeb and Jibril Kdayeb.
As you may recall, several Beitar Jerusalem fans expressed their firm objection to the addition of non-Jewish players to their favorite team by carrying a huge sign, big enough to be seen by the NY Times, with the immortal phrase: “Beitar Pure Forever.”
Yes, if you’re thinking “How Aryan is that?” your parents haven’t wasted all that Hebrew day school tuition money for naught.
But now, as it turns out, writing those three words on a banner and raising that banner in full view of the world media (which, I’ll admit, is harder than just jotting a note and handing it to a teller) can yield a very nice return on your efforts. I mean, that’s better than $50 thousand for one afternoon’s work. It even beats robbing banks, where you have to schlep from one bank to another with your note before you can put together that kind of cash.