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Refugee homes, kindergarten torched in arson attack in Tel Aviv

South Tel Aviv’s African community was hit by five Molotov cocktails last night, as Israelis wrapped up their Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day) celebrations. Four of the Molotov cocktails were thrown into apartments that are home to Africans; one was lobbed into a kindergarten.

No injuries were reported. Police are investigating the incidents that activists call a “coordinated” attack.

The African community in Israel has been the target of numerous acts of violence in the past. In January of 2011, for example, a burning tire was thrown into the apartment five Sudanese refugees shared in Ashdod. The men suffered from smoke inhalation and two were hospitalized.

Also in January of 2011, three teenage girls – the Israeli-born, Hebrew-speaking daughters of African migrant workers – were beaten by a group of Jewish teenagers. The attackers, one of whom was armed with a knife, allegedly called them “dirty niggers.” One of the girls needed medical treatment for her injuries.

Speaking in the aftermath of the 2011 attack on the girls, Poriya Gal, spokeswoman for the Hotline of Migrant Workers, told me, “It’s worth noting that the girls had already experienced such violence in the neighbourhood. But they chose not to report it to the police out of the fear that they would be attacked again.”

South Tel Aviv has become a flash point for Israeli aggression towards the foreign community. Right wing Jewish Israelis have held protests against the presence of Africans and migrant workers in the area. In the summer of 2010–months before rabbis across the country issued a letter calling on Jews not to rent or sell to Arabs–25 Tel Aviv rabbis signed a proclamation forbidding Jews from renting to “infiltrators,” a term the government and the right wing uses for African refugees. Ten real estate agents who work in neighborhoods that are home to large populations of African refugees answered the call, publicly stating that they would refuse such tenants and would not renew the leases of those who are currently residing there.

Several municipally-funded kindergartens in south Tel Aviv have also barred the children of foreign parents.

See Haggai Matar’s report on the community’s reaction to last night’s incidents.

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    1. Rabbis forbidding others to rent to “infiltrators?” A real sickness here. Once you advocate hate, you cannot control where it goes–perhaps into a kindergarten.
      It is going to get worse before it gets better.

      Reply to Comment
    2. SimoHurtta

      Where are those thousands of furious Zionists who shout when a swastika is painted on a Jewish building, not to mention if a firebomb is thrown in their building.

      Now when some of them do the same, not a sound condemning the acts of the Zionist religious/nationalistic fascists. “Funny” that the Israeli English media doesn’t tell anything of this incident, when they always tell with big headers and long “terrorist” stories if a Palestinian has been detained with a knife in his pocket.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Shlomo Krol

      I hope this racist crime will be condemned by all. My heart is with the victims.

      Reply to Comment
    4. aristeides

      These are the people we’re not supposed to offend by mentioning their crimes on their official self-congratulation day. No coincidence.

      Reply to Comment
    5. caden

      Considering how well Mya policed Martillo last time I can safely say that I can now call Aristedes and Simo low life scumbags without a problem. Greg is just an idiot.

      Reply to Comment
    6. annie

      this is so sad, i have much sorrow for your society. i hope you find a way thru this, i really do.

      Reply to Comment
    7. max

      @Annie, US, Germany, France, Russia… – all had similar acts in the past few years, so the Israeli society will probably learn from them how to address such hate crimes.
      @SIMOHURTTA, mind listing the Israeli English media that did NOT mention the case?

      Reply to Comment
    8. caden

      Annie, how about a few thousand on your street in SF. Surely a human rights activist like you would be on board with that.

      Reply to Comment
    9. John

      All those so called refugees are no refugees but muslim infiltrators and atheists trying to destroy Israel from within.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Jack

      You mean Israel are on the level US were in the 50-60s?

      Reply to Comment
    11. JG

      @John If you wanna call them “Untermenschen” why didn’t you did that direct, you little fascist?

      Reply to Comment