Articles Comments

The Only Democracy? » Discrimination » “Jews Only” housing project in Ajami

“Jews Only” housing project in Ajami

The neighborhood made famous in Israel’s nominee for Best Foreign Film Oscar is now home to a “Jews Only” housing project.

The Tel Aviv District Court rejected a petition this week against a decision to lease land in Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood for the exclusive use of members of the religious Zionist community.

“The petition, filed by Jaffa residents and human rights groups, challenged a decision by the Israel Lands Administration and the Tel Aviv municipality to lease the land in question to B’Emuna, a company specializing in housing complexes for the religious Zionist community. Its plan is to build three apartment buildings at the site.

The petitioners said the decision was discriminatory, because it would exclude anyone other than members of the religious Zionist community from purchasing an apartment in the complex, which is situated in a neighborhood where a majority of the residents are Arab. This is especially unfair given the shortage of available housing in the neighborhood, they argued.

But in his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Yehuda Zefet said the ILA had acted properly in deciding that the only consideration for selecting the winner of the tender would be financial, thereby ensuring that the lease would go to the highest bidder.”

B’Emuna said in its defense that Ajamiwas where the cheapest land was. Would the Israeli Land Administration do the same thing for a group of Palestinians who wanted to live in a settlement, where real estate is heavily subsidized and cheaper than inside Israel? My guess is no. Though of course it continues in practice, offically Segregated Housing is now illegal in this country,after much struggle. Fortunately, the neighborhood residents are planning to demonstrate.

“Kemal Agbariya, who heads the Ajami neighborhood council, said that activists and elected officials in the city also intend to organize protests.”

The Only Democracy? will keep following their efforts.

Written by

JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

Filed under: Discrimination · Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.