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Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shiloni

Publihsed in Jewish Business News

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni has ordered a halt until further notice on the employment of Arab workers in the construction of bomb shelters in kindergartens.


The mayor also ordered placing 40 security guards in kindergartens located near construction sites that employ Arabs. He explained that these measures are intended to enhance Ashkelon residents’ sense of security.

Mayor Shimoni told Israel Radio that he had not expected the media clamor that followed his announcement, possibly because he only recently returned from a lengthy visit to neighboring planets. In any event, he explained his decision was made in response to pressure from parents in his hometown, who said they feared for their children.

He added that anyone interested in making political capital out of this story should certainly understand his motive was only the personal security of his residents.

Naturally, the entire political class in Israel has been climbing on one another’s bodies to find a microphone and a TV lens they could express their views to, mostly depicting the mayor somewhere between Adolph Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan.

But as Israel has seen a long string of murders resulting from what looked like spontaneous decisions on the part of individual Arabs to get out there and murder them a Jew, using whatever they could lay their hands on, from the car they were driving to the grocery cleavers they normally used to make sandwiches – it’s difficult to fault the mayor for seeking to curb that wave of enthusiasm.

The debate this morning in Israel is reminiscent of the debate over racial profiling in American cities, with predictable arguments made against the practice – as very few Israelis dared arguing in favor of collective punishment, Ashkelon style.

Obviously, the real debate is not over whether or not the mayor is correct in his attempt to deal directly with an acute problem. The mayor merely responded to the fact that Israel is yet to find a solution to a month of riots on the part of thousands of Arabs alongside those murders, and the demonstrations of wild glee on the part of Arabs for the fact that innocent Jews have been exterminated.

Mayor Shimoni was looking to provide security, albeit in an unpopular way, because his prime minister has not been able to. Calling him names—which he probably deserves, if only for his stupidity in going public with the practice—does not change the fact that Israeli civilians are not safe from being murdered in the street by blood-crazy Arab individuals.

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Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.