Extremist to Arab reporter neighbor: I want to expel you, not burn your village

Jewish woman at protest says she doesn’t call for arson attacks on Arab localities because ‘I speak nicely’; discovers journalist is her neighbor: ‘Do you want to sell your home?’

Woman says she doesn't want to burn Arabs but does want to expel them in an interview with Kan, April 22, 2021 (Screen grab)
Woman says she doesn't want to burn Arabs but does want to expel them in an interview with Kan, April 22, 2021 (Screen grab)

An extraordinary exchange took place on Thursday night when a reporter interviewed an extremist Jewish resident of Jerusalem’s Old City and discovered they were neighbors, a fact that did not perturb the woman who said she just wanted to expel Arab residents like him, not burn their villages.

“This idea of burning [Arab] villages — does this represent you?” the Kan public broadcaster’s Suleiman Maswadeh asked the unnamed woman.

“Maybe not taking that route. I speak nicely — I’m not saying we’ll burn your village down. I say leave the village and then we will come and live in it. That’s what we do in the Old City by the way,” she said, wearing a sticker proclaiming “Kahane was right,” a reference to the late extremist rabbi.

The report came as tensions spiked in recent days in Jerusalem, with police clashing with Palestinians on a nightly basis since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last week, when authorities set up barricades at Damascus Gate, a traditional outdoor gathering spot.

But the situation worsened on Thursday night when Jewish extremists additionally held an anti-Arab march nearby, with some chanting “the people demand that the Arabs burn,” the cry the interviewed woman was apparently asked about to.

The chants were particularly chilling given a number of arson attacks by Jewish terrorists in recent years including the 2015 killing of three members of the Dawabsha family, and the 2014 murder of 16-year-old Muhammed Abu Khdeir.

However, the conversation between the woman and Maswadeh took an unlikely turn when it became clear they were neighbors, a fact which didn’t appear to stop the woman from expressing hope that he would leave his home.

“Let’s talk on a personal level. I lived in the Old City for 25 years,” Maswadeh told the woman.

“Really? Where?” the woman said.

“Herod’s Gate,” Maswadeh responded.

“Oh, we are really neighbors! I live on the corner. Do you want to sell your house?” the woman said.

“No,” Maswadeh replied, before continuing a conversation about whether the current levels of violence had reached levels which hadn’t been seen in recent years.

“You haven’t moved? You still live there?” the woman said at the end of the interview.

“Yes, unfortunately for you,” Maswadeh responded.

Reporter Suleiman Maswadeh (R) tells extremist woman that ‘unfortunately’ for her, they are neighbors, during an interview with Kan, April 22, 2021 (Screen grab)

Police said dozens of people were arrested and 20 officers were wounded in a night of chaos in Jerusalem Thursday, where security forces separately clashed with Palestinians angry about Ramadan restrictions and Jewish extremists who held an anti-Arab march nearby.

The far-right Jewish group known as Lehava led a march of hundreds of protesters chanting “Arabs get out!” and “Death to Arabs!” toward Damascus Gate.

Police stand in front of demonstrators from the Lehava Jewish extremist group at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on April 22, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The show of force was said to be a response to videos circulated on TikTok showing Palestinians slapping religious Jews at random. Other videos made in response to them appear to show Jews assaulting Arabs.

Police said the protesters threw stones and bottles. Footage circulating online showed police and hundreds of protesters running through the streets as the sound of either fireworks or stun grenades echoed in the background.

The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 32 Palestinians were injured in the clashes, including 12 who were hospitalized.

Tensions remained high on Friday, which saw renewed clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

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