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The Only Democracy? » Discrimination » Ms. and Mr. Israeli New Right

Ms. and Mr. Israeli New Right

By Eitan Isaacson
After the alarming poll among high school students, where 56% of Jewish students said Arabs should be denied the right to run for office in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, it is only fitting to highlight some of the figureheads of this popular racism, and get a small peek into their way of thought.

Anastacia Michaeli is a Knesset member who belongs to the Yisrael Beitenu party. Her past careers include being a news anchor on Israel’s Russian speaking cable channel and modeling. So in more than one way, she is a poster girl and rising star in Israel’s right.

Haaretz conducted an interview with her this week following the poll, she was very eager to speak about teenagers’ racism towards new immigrants, but the more interesting part is how little she had to say about any another form of bigotry. Really, how could she be critical when her party’s future depends on the blossoming hatred of these teens? Here are some cherry picked questions and answers from the Hebrew interview.

Q: MP Michaeli, would you allow your children to attend school with Arabs?

A: Once when on vacation near the Kineret I took a photo of my children. Behind them there were Arab kids, and it was fine. They played a bit together, with certain caution.

Q: 16% of Jewish teenagers don’t want Russian immigrants in their classrooms, and 19% are not interested in Ethiopian classmates. Is Israeli society racist in your opinion?

A: In Israeli society there is a racism phenomena, but not just among teenagers and children. They heard these prejudices on the street or at home, where everything begins. Actually, it’s not only there, it’s on TV too.

Q: 56% of teenagers believe that Arabs should not be allowed to run for office. Are you concerned about this figure?

A: I would not like to comment on that.

Q: Nonetheless, this is a denial of civil rights.

A: In our elections campaign we said “No loyalty, no citizenship”. Whoever is not loyal to the state should not have voting rights.

Q: Could there be a connection between the youths’ opinion regarding Russian and Ethiopian immigrants and their opinion regarding Arabs?

A: There is no connection. I have yet to see an Ethiopian or Russian terrorist. We don’t kill Jews with a desire to kill.

Ya’akov “Katzaleh” Katz is a local war hero, who not unlike Anastacia joined Israeli politics during the 2009 elections, riding in on his star status as a settler leader. He heads the National Union party, and is chairperson of the Knesset’s Committee on Foreign Workers. A more accurate translation of the committee’s name would be “The Foreign Worker Problem Committee” (?????? ?????? ????? ??????? ?????), it more accurately reflects the attitudes and motives behind the committee: “These people are a problem that we must solve”.
In a column that he wrote for Arutz Sheva, a settler media outlet, he speaks alarmingly about the “infiltration” of Israel’s southern border with Egypt by Sudanese and Eritrean refugees. The entire article is riddled with bigoted and racist “gems”, so it was hard to choose these paragraphs. Really hard..

The State of Israel is facing a hard problem: Between 1,000 and 2,000 persons infiltrate each month through the porous southern border. The public is not aware of the amount of people who have already entered the country: Somewhere between 22,000 and 25,000, about 20,000 of them live in Tel Aviv. Next year there will be at least 35,000, in two years 50,000 and in an increasing arithmetic progression we will reach in six or seven years to 75,000 or 100,000 African infiltrators, most of which will live in Tel Aviv and it’s area

In the committee I have suggested to the ministries’ representatives to start a city that will be a decent distance from the border, where only there the infiltrators will be allowed to live. They will be employed in government projects for building the city itself, building the border fence, and paving roads that are badly needed for the residents in the country’s south.

It may be that this kind of labor would take it’s toll on the infiltrators in a way that they will advise their relatives not to follow in their footsteps to Israel. They may even wish to pay again $2,500 per head to the corrupt guides who brought them here, this time in order to  return them to their home.

For some time no one is surprised how many of Tel Aviv’s residents are willing to sell Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. But it is unbelievable for me to behold how it does not bother them that their own city is becoming Eritrean and Sudanese. A thought sneaks to my mind that this secular, liberal and elitist community has simply lost all will to live. I call it to take it’s head out from under the blanket and look around. Is this what they hoped for when they built their homes in Tel Aviv? That it will become an African city? What kind of person wants to sell himself and his home? On this the Torah says “foolish and unwise people“, “foolish” towards their brethren in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, “unwise” towards themselves.

It is interesting to notice that “infiltrator” once referred to Palestinian refugees trying to return to their homes inside Israel, a small percentage of whom were violent but mostly just trying to pick crops or return to their home. It is originally a military term, but is used by most of Israeli society to refer to refugees and now that paranoia of outside threat has now infected all immigrants. Hatred knows no borders!

Eitan Isaacson grew up in Rehovot, Israel. Today he lives in Seattle and is an active member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

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