Violent riots in Tel Aviv fan Israel's bitter immigration dispute

Screen grab of mob from video below.
 
Violent riots in Tel Aviv against immigration from Africa have prompted counter-protests, but have also led government officials to call for the immediate deportation of Israel’s tens of thousands of African illegal immigrants.
 
The neighbourhood of Hatikva, in southern Tel Aviv where many African immigrants live, was ransacked Wednesday night following a large rally by nationalist protesters. Africans in the neighbourhood were insulted, spat on, and beaten; shops owned by Africans were looted.
 
Video of crowd walking through streets following an anti-immigration rally Wednesday night in Tel Aviv.
 
Following this violence, Israel’s right-wing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement condemning the attacks, while promising to resolve “the problem of infiltrators” by sending them back to their home countries in a process that would begin “soon.” Three days earlier, he had warned that the “60,000 infiltrators [the number of illegal African immigrants currently living in Israel] are liable to become 600,000 and lead to the eradication of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”
 
Interior Minister Eli Yishai, meanwhile, warned that Israel was witnessing the “crumbling of the Zionist dream.” He advocates jailing all African immigrants pending deportation.
 
Police estimate that African immigrants are currently arriving at the rate of 700 per week. Most come from Sudan and Eritrea through the border with Egypt. Israel is now constructing a 200 kilometre-long barrier along the border in an attempt to keep more from coming.
 
Since Sudan is considered by Israel to be an "enemy state", and Eritrea has a dismal human rights record, Israel has not, as of yet, sent immigrants from these countries home. Instead, Israel lets them stay, but does not process most of their asylum applications, meaning they are not legally allowed to work or gain access to public health care. Last year, out of 4,603 new asylum applications, Israel rejected 3,692 and approved only one.
 
Two weeks ago, Tel Aviv’s mayor, Ron Huldai, had called on the government to “take responsibility for dealing with [illegal immigrants]” following firebomb attacks on buildings housing Africans in southern Tel Aviv. He warned: “It is impossible to ignore their needs as human beings and to expect they won’t turn to crime.”
 
A counter-rally denouncing the attacks was held Thursday in Tel Aviv. 
Contributors

“Protesters started screaming at Africans who were just walking down the street, minding their own business”

David Sheen, a writer and filmmaker who lives in Tel Aviv, is the author of a documentary on racism against African immigrants in Israel. He has filmed numerous anti-immigrant protests, including those in southern Tel Aviv on Tuesday and Wednesday. He filmed a video of protesters cursing at an Israeli woman who defended African immigrants, which you can see here (Warning: video includes very graphic language).
 
Anti-immigrant rallies are usually held in southern Tel Aviv, because that’s where most African immigrants live, near the central bus station where they first set foot in the city. On Tuesday, supporters of a far-right group, including a member of parliament, marched to the office of an organization that provides support to immigrants, which had closed early to avoid trouble.
 
There, people spoke with megaphones, calling for the deportation of all illegal African immigrants. They were whipped up into a frenzy. Some protesters started screaming at Africans who were just walking down the street, minding their own business. About a dozen African people gathered to watch from a distance, along with more liberal Israelis. But the protesters hurled insults and threats at them, so they left.
 
“Many people in Israel worry that Jewish people will one day become a minority of the population, and that they will once again become subject to persecution”
 
The next day was even worse. This time, hundreds of people gathered for a big anti-immigrant rally on the side of a highway, again in southern Tel Aviv. Since it wasn’t in the middle of the streets this time, so there weren’t many Africans around – in any case, most of them knew to stay indoors. Some anti-racist Israelis showed up, too – they were cursed, pushed around, and had their signs torn up. The same went for journalists or people filming the demonstration – I was shoved and hit by protesters. I left before it turned into a ‘pogrom’ [several media outlets, including the army’s radio, likened the riots to a pogrom].
 
Anti-immigrant anger is escalating in Israel, even in Tel Aviv, the country’s supposed “liberal” bastion. The problem is that we don’t have a regular immigrant population who can contribute to the economy and integrate – the government forbids these immigrants from working. Of course, they don’t have enough money, so some steal, and many become homeless.
 
Many people nevertheless worry that these immigrants will steal their jobs. And many people in Israel worry that Jewish people will one day become a minority of the population, and that they once again become subject to persecution. This is paranoid, in my opinion; African immigrants represent less than 1 percent of our population. But for some, there shouldn’t be any non-Jewish people in the country at all.
 
Orthodox leaders have fanned this belief in 2010 by issuing edicts saying that Jewish people should not rent property to non-Jewish people. These are rabbis paid by the state! And many politicians are also fanning the flames by treating African immigrants as sub-human [most politicians refer to these immigrants as “infiltrators”; one member of parliament recently called them "the cancer of society.”]
Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Gaelle Faure.

Comments

"Many people in Israel worry

"Many people in Israel worry that Jewish people will one day become a minority of the population, and that they once again become subject to persecution"

And so they persecute minorities first? While East Africans make up <1% of the population and could never threaten the Jewish population in a hundred years or more. It is sad that they do not understand the irony.

The aspect of "sub-humanness"

The aspect of "sub-humanness" and discrimination is quite complex.

some months ago, there have been comments by ovadia youssef that gentiles/non-jews were presumably "born to be the slaves of the jews".

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/adl-slams-shas-spiritual-leader-for-saying-non-jews-were-born-to-serve-jews-1.320235

then, there are controversial passages like this one Talmud Bava Metzia 114b; Talmud Keritot 6b:
" adam atem karuin, ve eyn haovdey coxavim karuin adam." (you (jews) are called man/human, the gentiles (roughly "praying to the stars") are not called man/human.
etc.

in addition, you have people who do not consider non-jews worth of first aid at the time of shabath. (see shahak, i.: jewish religion, jewish history + gentiles in the jewish state.
etc.

some people undoubtedly regard "jewishness" to be superior. racist and nationalist ideology is mixed up. the consequences are very dangerous, not only for gentiles / non-jews but in the long run probably also for jews.
it seems many of these racist ministers and rabbis and ordinary people are either aware of the fact and their agenda is to promote conflict or if they are not aware of the respective repercussions of these dimensions. so, they should definitely reflect more profoundly.

just check literature by people like israel shahak, norman finkelstein, noam chomsky, yeshayahu leibovitz (sixrono livraxah) who were/are very critical of jewish nationalism.

there are many outrageous examples of a purportedly religiously based chauvinism and racist hierarchy.

by the way, even some literature for children in Israel is extremely racist very similar to dehumanizing antisemite/antijewish ouevres.
just check oz yaoz and others heros' adventures where arabs are described and denominated as pigs, cruel, cunning liars, etc. - jewish heros by contrast like to kill and destroy the enemy arabs, who are known for having killed their parents, etc.

basically, against this background, I d suggest that the jewish community has to address some of these issues to change perceptions. and the non-jewish community should also try to address these conflicts in cooperation with jewish people, in the interest of humanity.
unfortunately though, there s rarely a voice that speaks out loudly against the manipulation by certain people.

as some people like eyal sivan and others have shown through their films, the instrumentalization of history and religion might really endanger the state of israel.

and finally: what is actually the "jewish character of israel"?
respect the commandments, respect all the supossedly "613", (maybe more, maybe less?), respect the laws of the or modern state of israel? respect non-jews as equal? try to promote peace and wealth but for whom precisely?
it seems many questions are still unanswered?

shalom

Israeli the new Nazi of the Middle East

What you are witnessing is a repeat of how the Jews were treating in Germany. In 2012 the Israeli are the Nazi's and the Africans immigrants the Jews. This confirms my belief that Jews and Israeli are racist deep down in their hearts. Considering how they treat the palestinian people and now this, just shows what a hateful people they are. So tired of their complaining about the holocaust , they have become the oppressors. They are a fascist and racist society, time to arm the Palestinian and all other Arab country need to invade and fight against this facist and racist state called Israel.

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