Council chief sued for saying Arabs shouldn’t enter Jewish pools
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Council chief sued for saying Arabs shouldn’t enter Jewish pools

Lower Galilee official Moti Dotan apologized for ‘slip of the tongue,’ but rights group demands NIS 10m in class action lawsuit

Head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, Moti Dotan, February 7, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash 90)
Head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, Moti Dotan, February 7, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash 90)

Two weeks after causing an uproar for saying he didn’t want Arabs in his community pools, Lower Galilee Regional Council leader Moti Dotan has been hit by a NIS 10 million class action lawsuit.

The Coalition Against Racism filed papers against Dotan at Nazareth’s District Court on Sunday, Channel 2 reported.

The plaintiffs claimed Israel’s entire Arab population was eligible to demand compensation for potential discrimination at the council’s pools.

Interviewed on the Kol Chai radio station on July 28, Dotan, whose council represents several kibbutzim and Jewish towns in the Galilee, said, “I don’t hate Arabs, but I don’t want them at my pools. I don’t go to their pools, either.”

Saying his views were reflective of “cultural differences” and not racism, he cited different dress norms and “hygiene culture.”

Illustrative photo of a swimming pool (AP/Hassan Ammar)
Illustrative photo of a swimming pool (AP/Hassan Ammar)

Dotan later apologized on Facebook “to anyone who felt offended” by his remarks, writing that “it’s possible that” his comments the previous day were “misunderstood” and that he “may have had a slip of the tongue,” the Haaretz daily reported.

MK Youssef Jabareen, of the Joint (Arab) List parliamentary faction, called on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to look into Dotan’s publicly declared attitudes and demanded the council chief’s immediate resignation.

“The comments by the head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council are incitement to racism,” Jabareen said in a statement. “In addition to being morally unacceptable, it is a criminal offense and I ask that the attorney general open a criminal investigation.”

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