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The rabbis’ letter was denounced by other rabbis and by leading right-of-center Likud politicians like Minister Benny Begin, Knesset speaker Reuben Rivlin, and Netanyahu himself. The “Bat Yam rally” attracted about 200 fringe-Right activists from various places in Israel and only a handful of people from Bat Yam—population 120,000—itself, while being denounced by the town’s mayor.
As for the southern Tel Aviv rally against migrants, it in fact drew sympathetic responses from left-of-center figures. Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai of the Labor Party said that “The residents’ protest is justified and understandable” and called on the government to “set a clear immigration policy.”
And prominent, Tel Aviv-based, left-of-center media star and political aspirant Yair Lapid wrote, in an op-ed called “This is not racism,” that
these migrants cause a real problem.
The participants in the rally…in Tel Aviv Tuesday tried to explain to the media, almost desperately, that their motives have nothing to do with whether the migrants are white or black…. Their problem with the infiltrators is not their origin, but rather, what they do to their neighborhoods.
Meaning that the migrants have brought to these neighborhoods a major infestation of crime and drugs and made walking the streets a constant peril.
But do not look to the “elite,” Haaretz-type Israel-bashers of the Left, most of whom have socialist roots, to show a whit of sympathy for the problems of the working-class residents of southern Tel Aviv.
For that matter, while both the rabbis’ letter and the Bat Yam rally were legitimate targets of criticism, in many cases ordinary Israelis’ concerns about Arab encroachment stem from real problems, and should be well within the bounds of human sympathy without resorting to epithets of “racism” and worse.
There, however, is the crux of the matter.
For while the pro-Israel community works hard to draw a distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and outright slander, in that regard the Israeli Left is not a friend but, instead, one of the enemies—and among the most virulent of them.
And too busy at its work to give true, systematic racism like that promoted by the Palestinian Authority—and epitomized by Abbas’s statement on Saturday—even a passing notice. Or too in synch with it.
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