The similarities are shockingly stark. Everyday Israel is becomming more and more like the American South in the 1950’s. I am writing not about the West Bank or Gaza but about the Israel within the Green Line. Bibi Netanyahu warned today that violence against minorities will not be tolerated. The Prime Minister was responding to the raising tide of anti-minority violence against not just Palestinians but any minority that resides in Israel. Last week a rally took place in Bat Yam in which rightists protested the Arab takeover of the city. It seems that the style of vigilante justice that typified the American South in the 1950’s has become such an issue in Israel that even Netanyahu feels the need to release YouTube clips about it.
With regard to the recent wave of protests in Bat Yam and south Tel Aviv calling to expel Arab residents and migrant workers and to the recent arrest of a suspected youth gang in Jerusalem that has been targeting Arabs, Netanyahu said: “I ask one thing and I will be adamant about it. The citizens of Israel cannot take the law into their own hands – they cannot take part in violence or degradation.
Coupled with Yuval Ben-Ami’s post describing how the mayor of Upper Nazareth has refused to allow Christian residents to have public Christmas decorations or Ami Kaufman’s personal observations on Israeli racism, reading accounts from life in Israel it feels as though things go from bad to worse on a daily basis.