The Yisrael Beytenu party chairman for Upper Nazareth has initiated a campaign to encourage Arab residents of the city to sell their houses to Jews and leave the town permanently in exchange for $10,000, Walla reported Wednesday.
The campaign, which is in its initial stages, will be funded by right-wing organizations.
The program’s initiator, Alex Gedalkin, says it is not a racist proposal, but that he and his associates merely wish to raise their children in a Jewish environment, failing to discern how such language would fall under many a textbook definition of racism.
“More and more Arab families are flocking into the city, making the Jewish people a minority in the Galilee, of which Nazareth is the capital,” Gedalkin was quoted by Walla as saying. “I like the Arab residents; however, I believe there is no logical reason for them to live in a city defined by its Jewish character.”
A spokesperson for Yisrael Beytenu’s national branch, however, rejected the idea: “This plan is not among the policies of Yisrael Beytenu and does not have the support of the party. The idea is merely a personal trial balloon,” he told The Times of Israel.
The mayor of Upper Nazareth praised the initiative yet stressed that the municipality cannot extend its support to the program for legal reasons. Reports suggest, however, that residents of Upper Nazareth are critical of the campaign and say this will ignite tensions in a relatively quiet area.
“It’s sad to realize this person is out of touch with the city’s reality for many years,” said an Arab resident of Upper Nazareth of Gedalkin, as quoted by Walla. “Such things only cause unrest and tension between us and the Jews. It just shows that despite all the actions and statements in the political realm, racism is still rampant and is out to hurt us.”
Three and a half years ago, the police arrested a group of Jews who vandalized and set fire to Arab-owned homes in Upper Nazareth. One of the perpetrators was sentenced to 10 months in prison.